The ultimate target for any brand is to become synonymous with a certain experience. For a runny nose there’s Kleenex. Q-Tips keep your ears clean, Chap Stick helps maintain smooth, kissable lips, Band-Aids work better than adhesive bandages and all pasta is Chef Boyardee.
Perhaps the shining example of this in the horse world is of course Rolex, which over the past three decades has watched its status as title sponsor of the Kentucky Three-Day Event evolve into the accepted shorthand. North America’s only four-star event has become known as simply “Rolex”, a testament to branded commitment, if not a thirst for luxury timepieces.
With the news today that Rolex will no longer be the event’s title sponsor, we must now find a way to embrace to the [Redacted] Kentucky Three-Day Event…for now.
Equestrian Events Inc., the event’s organizer, unveiled its new un-branded brand for the Kentucky Three-Day Event, which will surely be adapted as soon as the next Brandy McBranderson waiting in the wings signs on and slaps signage around the Horse Park.
Rolex is expected to stay on board in a smaller capacity—I mean heck, 2 of the 3 phases are held in Rolex Stadium—and it will almost assuredly enjoy its association as brand-in-chief until we can all get comfortable with the roll of “[Enter Luxury/Outdoorsy/Big Eq brand here] Kentucky Three-Day Event”.
We have no knowledge of who is in line to overthrow the crown, but that won’t keep us from confidently speculating.
Land Rover. The English auto maker popular with scientists on safari and suburban soccer moms has been the event’s silver sponsor for several years and is heavily invested in the equestrian space.
Longines. The Coke to Rolex’s Pepsi (or vice versa, whichever way you swig), few brands are as prevalent in horse sport these days as Longines. You know you’re at a big time horse show when you see the giant clocks peppered around the grounds. There’s just one snag, but it’s a biggin’: Rolex Stadium isn’t changing names any time soon.
Apple Watch. As long as we’re stuck on timepieces, why not jump into the digital age and hitch your trailer to the world’s most successful company?
Chevrolet. Trucks. Horses. Trailers. Trucks.
Dodge Ram. More trucks.
Mercedes-Benz. No, they don’t do pickups, but they do help wealthy people get from A to B in style; much like horses.
Ariat. Where fashion meets function.
Harley-Davidson. Just, think about it for a few minutes…it could work.
Papa Johns. Headquartered just down the road from the Kentucky Horse Park and—and dear God, please no.
KFC. Now we’re talkin’…
Maker’s Mark. Now we’re really talkin’…and laughing, and crying, and fighting.
I’m sure many of you roll your eyes at such matters as you marvel over the refreshing simplicity of the “Kentucky Three-Day Event”, but the fact is, these sponsorships keep the sport horse world humming.
Sent from my iphone.