Royal Ascot plays inclusivity card as it awaits racegoers

The Royal Ascot race meeting takes place from June 15 so, presumably, there’ll be some racegoers there. It’s the occasion when the British establishment is on parade of course – most notably with the Queen’s horse-drawn procession down the course and the morning-suited Royal Enclosure.

Will only the toffs be allowed in this year? And will Prince Andrew find a seat in the carriage?

Such issues clearly weren’t on agency Isobel’s mind when it made this teaser ad (or, if they were, were shoved firmly to the back.) Inclusivity is all these days so we have a lady of Asian heritage (better tread carefully here, sure there will be lots of such folk there) dreaming of the racing as she watches winter raindrops.

Ascot head of marketing Ros Robinson says: “whilst we await the return of spectators to the racecourse we wanted to evoke the memories of Royal Ascot. The work by isobel truly brings this to life building on our brand platform of ‘home to some of the best drama on earth,’ which certainly rings true in 2021.”

Not entirely convinced but it’s trying.

MAA creative scale: 5.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.


  1. Stephen Foster, this is the second racist article you have written. The first being the recent Wakers campaign featuring Asim Chaudhry.

    When I complained about that article, you replied with “This seems to be an unlooked for turn. simply a reflection of the current fashion in comedians/comic actors” but you then changed parts of the article.

    Ignoring the fact that a so-called editor starts a new sentence with a lowercase letter, how do you explain yourself this time?

    Your headline is problematic. How is Royal Ascot playing the inclusivity card? What is the inclusivity card? Can an ad not feature an actor of South Asian heritage without you making a point about it? What is the point you are raising by highlighting the heritage of an actor? Why do you only highlight a tiny minority of actors? Do you see the problem, Steve?

    This ad is about anticipation, the heritage of the actor in the advert is irrelevant, yet you want to make a point of it by spewing “Inclusivity is all these days so we have a lady of Asian heritage (better tread carefully here, sure there will be lots of such folk there) dreaming of the racing as she watches winter raindrops.”

    You know this is problematic which is why you add in “better tread carefully”, so why say it all? All you’re doing is eroding any sort of reputation you had.

    Do you also make a point of highlighting white actors? No, you do not, the last few articles you’ve written that feature white talent make no mention of their heritage. Why is that, Steve?

    We’ve removed MAA from our distribution list purely because of your recent racist articles, we’d rather have media titles review our work based on the work, not the ethnicity of the actors we choose to use. I hope this makes you think about how you review ads, but somehow, I don’t think it will.

  2. No it won’t because I don’t agree with you.

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