I've had a day to wrap my head around the Maryland Jockey Club's new Preakness advertising campaign, "Be Legendary," and its spokes-centaur, Kegasus. I'm not offended by the beer-bellied, half-horse, half-man creature. I'm just confused.
Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas told The Baltimore Sun that the ads target a younger demographic. "It talks their language," he said. "We have never hidden the fact that we want people to come to the infield and party."
Meanwhile, Preakness organizers and the ad agency, Elevation, say they don't condone excess drinking despite the allusions to "a mighty stallion crossed with a human partying hard til the break of dawn" in one of the Infieldfest radio spots that hit YouTube this week (here's the other). The image on the videos shows Kegasus double-fisting beer mugs at Pimlico Race course.
I can look past the hypocrisy when it comes to the Maryland Jockey Club's stance on excessive drinking at Preakness. I can even look past the excessive drinking itself because I was once in college and dabbled in that kind of behavior, and you know what you're getting into ahead of time if you purchase an infield ticket.
But I just don't understand this campaign. I'm 28 and these ads have zero appeal to me. Nothing about a centaur who looks like Kenny Powers resonates with me. I voiced my confusion on Twitter -- that means I can't be too old -- and Kegasus himself responded with a Tweet, "Have you been jedi mind tricked?"
No, and though this campaign might appeal to younger folks, that Jedi mind trick will convince more Marylanders to steer clear of Pimlico this year. I'm just confused; horse racing fans are embarrassed.