There will be plenty from the marketing community gearing up for the Melbourne Cup today and, with a couple of Kiwi options, the TAB is aiming to get the locals to lay down a few more bets this year. But founder and chief executive of NZ Tax Refunds NZ Cilla Hegarty has managed to combine marketing and horses in a very different manner: racing a branded thoroughbred/"fast-moving advertising billboard" called Gottagetmywoohoo.
The company's 'Do you have a Woohoo waiting?' advertising campaign by Special Group was honoured at last year's TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards for creating a major point of difference from its very samey, very functional competitors. And, in keeping with its desire to stay ahead of the pack, Hegarty and her team took another novel step with this endorsement.
Hegarty rode ponies as a girl with Christchurch trainer Pam Hughes, who trains in partnership with her husband Kevin. During New Zealand Cup week at Riccarton, where NZ Tax Refunds was sponsoring a race and also involved in promoting the Fashions in the Fields competition, Hegarty mooted the idea that her business could race a galloper under the Hughes' guidance.
"I used to ride. I love horses, so that's what it all comes back to," she says. "We wanted this to be a fun thing for the staff as well. When he had his first start, there was a lot of staff involvement. A lot of them had a bet and it just became a whole other aspect of a staff activity. He seems to be one of the only horses that races with a logo on his back so the staff could all feel part of it. We're all very proud of what we do and hopefully we can all be proud of the horse as well."
And it seems like that's come to fruition, because the horse has already found some success.
So what are the chances of Gottagetmywoohoo becoming the first of a whole stable of horses with Woohoo-inspired names racing in the Woohoo silks?
"Anything is possible with this company," says Chris Cameron, NZ Tax Refund's chief marketing officer.