Scottish PR Agency helps sell out a Ladies Day Event

by Ainsley Piggott

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Racecourse Ladies Day event was first past the post, with help from our Scottish PR agency   Photo of a lady taking a photo of her friends at Musselburgh Race Course Ladies Day

QUESTION: Just how do you improve on sell out success? Answer: By selling out even faster!

The prestigious Stobo Castle Ladies Day at Musselburgh Racecourse is one of the highlights of the summer social calendar, which means the tickets sell out time after time.

So in 2016, the racecourse’s prestigious 200th anniversary year, the challenge was to make sure the annual festival of fun, fashion and furlongs recorded its most successful sales to date.

Our eye catching PR services helped Musselburgh Racecourse race to some impressive results including:

  • A highly successful partnership with a glamorous fashion event
  • Valuable engagement with Scotland’s most influential fashion bloggers
  • A striking photocall featuring a stylist, a race horse and an amazing backdrop
  • A hatful of positive media coverage
  • And most importantly – tickets completely sold out by 27th March – a full three days earlier than the previous year.


Effective public relations played a huge role in this success story, so for other businesses looking for tips, here’s our guide to delivering a galloping success story:

1 – How we delivered a galloping success story

 As the six month countdown to Ladies Day started, we knew we’d need a fashion-focused campaign to help reach the target audience of style-conscious women with a yen for a fab day out.  Another important PR target was to reinforce the all-important messaging that the five star venue is Edinburgh’s racecourse, located just six miles from the centre of the Scottish capital.

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After putting on our thinking caps we came up with the suggestion of partnering with Edinburgh Fashion Week as the ideal way to reinforce both important messages. Then we went one step further by setting up an exploratory meeting with the fashion week organisers.

As an added bonus, that meeting was suitably stylish, taking place in a quirky cafe with some much needed coffee and cake. Thanks to our planning and preparation, by the time the meeting concluded, we had officially secured the partnership, much to the delight our clients at the racecourse.

2 – Fashions come and go – but PR style is timeless

By striking that deal we helped ensure Musselburgh Racecourse was on the lips of central Scotland’s most influential fashionistas with mentions throughout Edinburgh Fashion Week.

For example, we worked with a renowned stylist who prepared and hosted workshops during the week on how racegoers could look their best, ensuring fashion-hungry women got tips and insights on how to prepare for the big day.

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On top of that Musselburgh passes and packages were included in the ‘goodie bags’ given to the influential bloggers who took part in Edinburgh Fashion Week, while attendees at Edinburgh Fashion Week also had the chance to win Musselburgh Racecourse tickets.

All of this helped stoke up interest and anticipation with exactly the right audience for one of the Racecourse’s biggest event of the year. Now that is real PR style.

3 – A Thrilling Photo Finish!

We were already working on a release that would provide women with ultimate fashion tips and now with Edinburgh Fashion Week involved we hit the phones and liaised with professional stylists to secure quotes that provided proof of the hottest trends of the summer.

To add to an already trendy story we decided to take it one step further by arranging a creative photocall to show how fashion and horse racing can be brought together.

We arranged for a top Edinburgh stylist to strut the catwalk with a professional racehorse in Princes Street Gardens – what better way to promote an Edinburgh event than in front of the renowned castle. Within minutes of setting up, the photoshoot was a huge hit, attracting crowds of people eager to find out what was going on.

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This kind of approach allowed our client to promote one of its most prestigious events in various effective ways. This included engaging with onlookers at the photocall and ensuring messaging is passed on via word of mouth to secure valid and worthy quotes and tying in relevant sources, such as Edinburgh Fashion Week, for the press release being issued to publications across Scotland.

With a strong story, quirky images and valuable sources we were able to achieve fantastic coverage in various publications including Edinburgh Evening News, Edinburgh Reporter and Scottish Field and give Ladies Day tickets an extra push.

Following on from our creative photocall, Musselburgh Racecourse went on to smash ticket targets with purchases increasing dramatically across the weekend after our story had hit the headlines.

4 – Finishing Strongly In the Final Furlong

But we didn’t stop there. Eager to ensure our client got the most out of the photocall, we came up with other ways to promote the event and push ticket sales.

For instance, we pulled together a ‘Last Chance To Buy’ media release once the remaining tickets hit the 350 mark, urging would be racegoers to act fast if they wanted to attend this year’s Stobo Castle Ladies Day event.

To ensure momentum continued and to now push package upgrades we put together a forward planner jam packed with ongoing activity. Keen to continue to top last year’s sell out figures we ensured it was quirky and creative to maximise coverage opportunities.

On top of the successful media relations with a host of related news stories, we augmented the coverage by liaising with a number of media partners to organise competitions and giveaways.

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As an example, we worked with event sponsor, Stobo Castle, to offer journalists and bloggers the chance to experience a relaxing spa day and overnight stay. That let them see how a spa day is the perfect way for women to pamper themselves in preparation for the Ladies Day experience.

This approach saw us engage with well-known writers and journalists to secure coverage on various blogs including Glamour Globe and Satisfashion, as well as highlight the importance of organisation ahead of one of Musselburgh Racecourse’s biggest events.

But we still weren’t finished – and next up we were negotiating valuable partnerships with two of Scotland’s biggest, best read and most respected newspapers to run reader competitions.

The Herald is Scotland’s highest circulation quality newspaper, selling 35,000 copies a day and reaching huge numbers more online. Meanwhile the Daily Record, is a giant of Scotland’s popular newspaper market, selling 190,000 copies a day with massive online reach.

We teamed up with both papers so that each could offer one lucky reader the chance to win an exclusive Ladies Day pamper package at Stobo Castle, worth almost £700.  These competitions allowed us to involve Musselburgh Racecourse enthusiasts in our campaign and communicate key messages in a fun and effective way.

Isn’t it time you treated your business to the benefits of a public relations campaign?

Too often businesses stick to what is the norm and are reluctant to think outside the box. However, this is proof that you can create a cost effective campaign, with limited resources needed which will achieve successful results.

It also shows how any business, even those with a relatively small budget can use creative planning to put together an effective campaign and reach the right people in the run up to important events.

We’d love the chance to speak with you and discuss how public relations could help your business to enjoy better results, while creating a happier workplace. We’re a chatty bunch and you can speak with us on any time at 0131 561 2244, or fill out the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you.

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Ainsley Piggott of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Private: Ainsley Piggott

Ainsley Piggott joined award winning Holyrood PR in Scotland with three years industry knowledge behind her having previously worked on well known consumer PR accounts such as Asda, Greggs and DFS

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