Horse racing is the second most popular spectator sport in the country, but not everyone is a fan. The industry’s own polling has shown that a significant minority of people believe that the sport is cruel to horses, unnecessarily dangerous and some even say that they think that iconic races, such as the Grand National, should be banned. The polling data and our focus groups showed that these views were largely held by females and particularly by younger females.


To reach this audience, we embarked on a content led social media campaign, supported by an earned media campaign, activated at a key moment in the racing calendar. We created a visually striking and emotionally engaging film, designed to inspire younger female audience. As well as persuading people that horses are extremely well looked after, the film had emotional cues and triggers to prompt people to share the video to their networks and increase our reach. We also supported the film with a carefully orchestrated stakeholder campaign, ensuring that the industry and its supporters could all promote the video and were prepared for any issues that were raised in response.


The campaign launched just ahead of Royal Ascot, when appetite for horse racing content is high. The release of the film across social media generated over 750,000 views in a week, with limited paid support. The film touched the target audience, generating support on social media from a range of influencers, including Chris Hughes (Love Island), Clare Balding (broadcaster), AP McCoy (jockey) and Nicholas Soames (MP).

The traction on social media was further propelled with a successful editorial push, which generated seven high quality pieces of press coverage, including on the Mail Online, Cosmopolitan Magazine and the Evening Standard. Again, the media reach skewed heavily toward younger females – our key target audience.

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