- Doug Williams
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When jockey Chantal Sutherland was approached about putting a Quick Response code on the seat of her pants, she said, “Go for it.”
“No hesitations,” she said this week from Del Mar, where she’ll ride Game on Dude in Sunday’s $1 million Pacific Classic. “It’s a new idea and I like all new ideas and I support it. And, you know, we got paid for it, so that helps."
Sutherland -- a 36-year-old Canadian who’s built a successful brand for herself as a jockey, actress and model -- is wearing the QR code on the rear of her white jockey pants for this summer’s Del Mar meeting.
The squarish pattern is a bar code that, when scanned, takes a user directly to TVG.com, an online gambling website. TVG -- which already had a sponsorship deal with Sutherland, who previously wore a TVG logo on her pants -- approached her about wearing the code to promote its “Summer of Mobile” marketing campaign.
Don Scott, vice president of marketing at TVG, said that because Sutherland has a “fun personality and sense of humor,” he thought she’d be up for it. Also, as the first woman jockey to win the Hollywood Gold Cup last month on Game on Dude, and with nearly 950 career wins and almost $47 million in earnings, Sutherland often gets camera time in the winner’s circle.
“We were just trying to be playful,” Scott said. “Chantal, not only does she have a great, playful personality, but you know she’s beautiful and she’s very popular. … She’s confident to kind of pull off something as tongue-in-cheek as this.”
Other jockeys have had ads on their backsides, says Sutherland, but she’s the first to have a bar code on her butt.
Sutherland -- who’s appeared in the HBO series “Luck” and Animal Planet’s “Jockeys” series -- was eager to do it.
“Any kind of new, special media is interesting,” she says. “I thought it was an interesting idea. Kudos to them for trying to make something new and original.”
So far, she’s received little reaction or comments from her fellow jockeys (“They’re too busy to care,” she says) or fans at the track about the design on her derriere.
Does this signal a growing trend for companies to find new ways of getting their logos and brands on high-profile jockeys?
“I don’t know,” says Sutherland. “Hopefully, sure. It’s always good to make money.”