Racing body in pitch for consumer PR brief

The British Horseracing Board has drawn up a shortlist of PR agencies as it prepares a successor campaign to its 'Discover Racing' initiative.

McCann-Erickson Public Relations, which has handled the work for the past 12 months from its Manchester office, is understood to have already pitched for the work for which a closed shortlist has already been compiled.

Although the campaign - which kicked off three years ago to woo non-race-goers to Britain's 59 racetracks - has faced criticism from within the sport, attendances at racecourses were last year at their highest since 1989, according to Racecourse Association figures released last month.

The review of the PR account has been triggered by the BHB, with the process being overseen by marketing director Chris John and marketing manager Edward Coke, both of whom declined to provide details on the pitch. The eight-strong PR division at McCann-Erickson, located in the 300-strong ad agency in Cheshire, has promoted Discover Racing since being appointed by the BHB last year.

Discover Racing - currently promoted as 'the only place to look and book for a day at the races anywhere in the UK' - is overseen by the Racing, Betting and Marketing Group (RBMG) and managed by the BHB's marketing team.

Earlier this month the BHB drafted in Hill & Knowlton for PR and PA advice after incumbent Bell Pottinger Public Affairs resigned the work. The H&K brief, led by MD James Hunt and director Simon Miller, includes the BHB's parliamentary work.

Bell Pottinger ceased work with the BHB a month ago and has since started work with the Racecourse Association, the trade body for the 59 courses.

That brief is led by managing director Peter Bingle.

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