The Durban July

in sportstalk •  last year 

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The Rothmans promotional team would have had something similar, but the road version. No expense was spared on the cars we drove which was one of the perks. Every two or three years they would surprise us with the latest cars and we would then want to jump ship to the team with the best cars.


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Last week was the Durban July horse race and is the biggest racing event of the year in South Africa. I am not really into all the dressing up and see it as a bit over the top. I knew it as the Rothmans July Handicap back in the days as the company I worked with sponsored this as that brands main event for the year. They used to do bits here and there, but this was their flagship event.

Other brands such as Winfield sponsored rugby which was then the Super 12 and the brand that I did with Chesterfield was involved with Army and University sporting events and boring old hockey. I found it a yawn anyway and spent my time in the beer tent to try and stay awake. The poor Dunhill guy had show jumping, so his Rolls Royce used to go every other weekend to the toffs wearing his suit and top hat.

Every year we had a build up to the July horse race and had to stick advertising up everywhere and anywhere. Being the only cigarette company as we owned the competitor as well we could do what we wanted. The company was split into two so there was no room for competition. Actually I lie we had another competitor company, but we never counted them really as they had about 8 percent of the market and we had the rest.The only rule was that our branded cars were not allowed at the race track and only the Rothmans team were allowed that luxury. I think they all had Audi Quattro's at the time done out in the Rothmans livery.
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The Friday night was the only event I went to each year at the track as it was an invite only event ad you had to dress up. The jockeys would all be there and a host of top models doing a fashion show revealing loads of flesh. Having a table at the front sometimes you never knew were to look as things would be on show.


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I see the standards have slipped a little.There is always one that hogs the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

I understand it is meant to be glamorous and all that ,but I kind of feel it is so fake and put on and people are trying to out do each other. Showing what I have and you don't sort of mentality yet they have borrowed the dress from a designer. I suppose it is like a live Facebook day as I am sure that is where all the fakeness will be seen.

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Is cigarette advertising and sponsorship still allowed over there mate? When it got banned in the UK, it was forecast to be the death of sport lol...but there was an adjustment period and prize money dropped a little but now , no one really remembers it.

No. It got banned way back. Ferrari still get Marlboro money today as it is in sport in a subtle way. Will check if the barcode is still on the car. Never made sense why alcohol can still sponsor sport as well and still does.

It don't seem to have affected much!

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