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March 29, 2011

Maryland Jockey Club bets on tweeting centaur to attract young to Preakness InfieldFEST

In a bid to attract young people to its Preakness InFieldFEST, the Maryland Jockey Club announced today a new mascot: a tweeting, beer-swilling centaur called Kegasus.

Kegasus, described as a "manimal" in the press release, is the cornerstone of the event's new advertising campaign, also unveiled today, which features the slogan "Be Legendary."

Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas credited demographics with the campaign's creation, because everyone knows young people love nothing more than drinking beer, tweeting, and horse-man hybrids.

"In order to reach our highly targeted younger demographic, we have realized we need to go where they go and do what they do," the press release quoted Chuckas saying.

Oy, the stuff that's blamed on the young. First the fall of Four Loko, and now this. 

The press release continues.

"The humorous nature of the advertisements and their inclusive message are just two of the many added bonuses." Inclusive message? of whom? shirtless centaurs? The full thing, after the jump.

The ad campaign follows the announcement early March that Bruno Mars and Train would headline the music stage of InFieldFEST, now in its third year, at the 136th Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.

The new ad campaign, which also features a stale slogan - "Be Legendary" - that sounds lifted from an old Wheaties campaign will last an inexplicable eight weeks leading up to and around Preakness.

Kegasus will appear on all media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube, where he'll desperately try to go as viral as "Running the Toilets." NB to the Jockey Club: you forgot to put Kegasus on Tumblr, formspring, and Etsy.

Some poor actor will also be hired to make occasional promotional appearances at sports bars across the city. His first is at the Orioles home opener. 

The campaign is a strange choice for the Jockey Club, which can't seem to find a winning dynamic for the infield events surrounding the centuries-old Preakness Stakes.

In the past, it was criticized for enabling drunken debauchery at the infield and later for scaling that back by preventing people from bringing in their own beer to Pimlico Race Track.When that strategy backfired, it rolled out a new ad campaign that revolved around the phrase "Get Your Preak On" that was then criticized as being too sexually suggestive.

Both that campaign and Kegasus were conceived by the geniuses at DC-based firm Elevation, LTD, which have produced ads for such notorious party animals as the American Lung Association and Michael Bloomberg

With Kegasus, though, they're attempting to strike an awkward balance between order and edginess, much like a dad organizing a kegger for his son's 21st. They might have been better served with a friendly drunk, say, Danny DeVito as his Phil the satyr from Disney's "Hercules."

InFieldFEST takes place May 21 at the the public Infield of Pimlico Race Course

The Kegasus press release from the Maryland Jockey Club, a gem:

MJC urges fans to “Be Legendary” at Preakness InfieldFest

Baltimore, MD (Tuesday, March 29, 2011) —The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) today launched the 2011 Preakness InfieldFest campaign, “The Legend of Kegasus”. Kegasus is the Lord of the InfieldFest and a modern twist on a mythical centaur. Serving as the voice and personality for all advertisements, Kegasus can be found in all of the campaign’s components to include television, radio, out-of-home and web.

“We are excited to be launching this campaign and look forward to watching this image grow throughout the course of its eight-week run,” Tom Chuckas, Maryland Jockey Club president said. “Kegasus speaks directly to our InfieldFest demographic with his no-nonsense personality and total embodiment of a good time.”

The 136th running of the $1 million Preakness® Stakes (Grade I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, is May 21 at Pimlico Race Course.

The InfieldFest party at The Preakness Stakes is legendary and continues to grow. The Maryland Jockey Club aims to spark added interest by empowering a legendary centaur – half horse, half man – as the campaign’s spokesperson. The humorous nature of the advertisements and their inclusive message are just two of the many added bonuses.

The MJC also anticipates this party “manimal” to come to life outside of traditional media. Kegasus will be appearing at various grassroots events around Baltimore leading up to the Preakness. He will be making his in-person debut at pregame festivities for the Baltimore Orioles home opener on Monday, April 4. He will also be posting web videos to his own YouTube channel, and yes, Kegasus even tweets.

“In order to reach our highly targeted younger demographic, we have realized we need to go where they go and do what they do,” Chuckas added. “By launching a robust social media presence and appearing at downtown bars, Kegasus will have the opportunity to interact directly with his fans and get them excited about this year’s InfieldFest – the premier celebration in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Earlier this month it was announced that Grammy Award Winning artists Bruno Mars and Train were to headline the InfieldFest concert, with Phil Vassar, Puddle of Mudd and local favorites Mr. Greengenes on the Jägermeister stage. The popular MUG Club returns, offering fans a bottomless mug all day long for one all-inclusive price.

For the second consecutive year, the MJC has tapped Elevation, Ltd. to develop and execute its InfieldFest advertising campaign. “We are honored to once again work hand-in-hand with the Maryland Jockey Club to create a campaign that galvanizes our target audience and brings excitement to this legendary event,” Jim Learned, president of Elevation said.

Photo: Kegasus twitter account

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Posted by Erik Maza at 11:37 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: News


Since when did the majority of their demographic consist of the C.S. Lewis crowd?

I'm pretty sure Joe Camel would have a few things to say about this.

From the creator of the Jump to Conclusions Mat ... Kegasus!

This is horrible, this idea


This is a failure on many levels, one a Pegasus is a winged horse which they have clearly confused with a Centaur in this illustration and two the photoshop is terrible. Hands down' worst idea ever' for preakness

I know it's the hip and angst-y thing to bash everything Preakness since the format change, but admit it folks, Kegasus is kinda funny. I wonder if he uses an aubesian.

However, Preakness will still suck. And Kegasus may swill some beer, but then "it" will then have to wait in an hour-long line for another one.

I'd rather have a fun event and lame/no mascot.

Back when it the event was actually enjoyable they didn't need a clever mascot or slogan to drive attendance.

You see the YouTube channel?

Funny stuff.

This blog is a perfect case study in how social media is done wrong. Blogs are an opportunity to invite dialogue especially when others have dissenting opinions. Erik uses this medium to push his own agenda and when anyone posts a comment contrary to that or critical of the Baltimore Sun it's immediately pulled down. Yet the paper can be critical of anyone. It's one-sided irresponsible journalism. Want proof? Bet this post is gone within the hour.

nice enrique iglesias wannabe profile pic. D-bag.

If they want to connect with a younger demo, don't book crappy musicians.

notafan going on 24 hours. Guess he lost that bet. Moron

I enjoy bashing Erik as much as the next guy but I've never had him pull a post down.

well of course he's not going to pull it down after it's been declared a bet

The phrases "tweeting young centaur" and "highly targeted younger demographic" make me cringe. It's another one of these terrible attempts to be random and edgy that you see spewing out of board rooms across the country every year.

Young people went to Preakness to drink, gamble, and party. Not because some dickbag at a PR firm decided that they should do something like that Old Spice guy and use that Twatter thing all the kids keep talking about.

It's a horse race and concert put on by a large entertainment corporation, not the next underground viral hit. Treat it as such. Hire decent bands. Either allow BYOB or at least sell affordable drinks. Most of all, lose the patronizing attempts to be hip. It's the marketing equivalent of dads who wear chucks with their jean shorts and wear backwards baseball caps while jamming along with a Jay-Z tune in an attempt to look "with it".

Drunken d-bag meatheads UNITE!!!
WooHoo Broham!!! (Fist Pump)

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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