BMB delivers bold new welfare campaign for British horse racing

bmb-british-horse-racing-welfare-campaign

London creative agency BMB has delivered the first phase of work for British horse racing clients Great British Racing (GBR), the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and racing’s Horse Welfare Board (HWB), to help improve engagement and public trust around equine welfare and safety within the sport.

British horse racing

Horse racing is Britain’s second biggest spectator sport but concerns over the welfare of its equine athletes is the greatest threat to the sport’s social licence and a recognised barrier to engagement.

As part of a step change for the industry, Great British Racing, the British Horseracing Authority and the sport’s Horse Welfare Board came together in 2023 to create a brief to find an agency to help racing tackle these challenges head on.

BMB was appointed in December 2023 to deliver the work in two phases across 2024-2025. Central to the brief was the development of a new creative platform that would sit across the sport and a bold new organising idea with openness, trust, and transparency around equine welfare at its core.

BMB’s creative route, HorsePWR, flips the approach that welfare worries are a barrier to engagement in racing by inviting discussion and transparency on the topic.

Building on the public’s love of animals, and of admiration of athleticism and athletes, HorsePWR instead uses positive welfare communications to encourage people to engage with the sport. The acronym PWR delivers the campaign’s key pillars of Purpose, Welfare and Responsibility.

HorsePWR’s creative takes inspiration directly from sports marketing, putting the Thoroughbred athlete front and centre.

Heroic portraits and close-up photography place the horse at the heart of all assets and bold typography in colours inspired by jockey silks help deliver messages that have energy, impact and excitement.

As part of the brief, BMB was tasked with developing core creative routes and messaging to tackle the public’s most pressing concerns in welfare – including safety, injuries and fatalities, the whip, and life after racing for horses.

The core creatives and campaign assets direct the reader to the new destination hub designed by BMB, HorsePWR.co.uk.

The site brings together in one place all the most important information on horse welfare – easy to find, easy to read – with facts and data provided and questions answered.

The campaign creative and messaging was robustly tested with focus groups prior to launch. Critical feedback included the importance of proof points and as a result messaging was further refined to ensure maximum cut through.

Jason Cobbold, CEO at BMB, said: “Driving trust around such an emotive topic was an exciting and challenging brief to receive, but that’s where BMB excels.

“This campaign for British racing has been grounded in the facts around racehorse welfare, whilst also celebrating the supreme athleticism of Thoroughbred horses.

“This beautiful work has been created to help racing switch the narrative to awe and admiration, whilst also inviting questions and fostering a deeper understanding of racing’s commitment to the wellbeing of these animals.”

Robin Mounsey, Head of Communications, BHA, and member of the sport’s Horse Welfare Board, said: “The HorsePWR campaign sees the sport take a new approach when it comes to talking about welfare. It is about being up-front, open, and transparent. It is about tackling head-on the elements of the sport that we know are areas of concern and providing information to educate and reassure.

“Those who work in the sport are rightly proud of our record and standards when it comes to welfare. This campaign provides a platform to allow those connected with the sport to share their pride.

“It will be aimed at racing’s current and potential fans and will seek to ensure that future generations of racing followers are not lost to the sport due to negative perceptions around welfare issues.”

Gabi Whitfield, Head of Welfare Communications, Great British Racing, added: “This is a positive shift for British racing. The public want to know that horses bred for racing are leading good lives, that racing acts responsibly and in the best interests of the horse, and that all efforts are being made to reduce risk wherever possible.

“That’s why HorsePWR has been created. And it will cover the full spectrum, from helping rebut misinformation through to promoting the many aspects of racehorse welfare that the sport can be rightly proud of.”

Phase one of the HorsePWR campaign saw the launch of the online hub to the racing industry and racing fans  on 4 April in advance of the Randox Grand National, a race that draws global attention to British racing’s safety and welfare standards.

The campaign comprises the bold new visual identity and core creative approach, which flows through a number of deliverables, including a destination website for welfare in racing and a high profile print, DOOH and digital campaign that went live across all media platforms at major racecourses on 11 April and via key racing stakeholders throughout the season.

It has received an unprecedented level of support from all corners of the sport.

BMB and the client will continue to work on delivery of phase two of the campaign, including the development of further creatives, asset formats and the roll-out of a wider digital social strategy to reach a wider audience.