Churchill hires PR firm

For the first time, Churchill Downs has hired a national marketing and public relations firm to promote the Kentucky Derby and the Oaks.

The Louisville racetrack company announced Tuesday that it has hired Chicago-based Cramer-Krasselt to "develop a brand identity and communications strategy for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks that will broaden the reach and relevance of both brands."

Churchill senior vice president Dave Tompkins said C-K will help with licensing and corporate partnerships, and media "interested in the extravagant social scene, sports spectacle and diverse entertainment offerings that make up the Kentucky Derby experience."

C-K's New York office will handle the promotions, which will launch early in 2009, according to the news release.

Other C-K clients include AirTran Airways, Benjamin Moore, Bissell, Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo, Burlington Coat Factory, Corona Beer, H.J. Heinz, Johnsonville Sausage, MGM Grand, Porsche Cars North America, Sealy, Rayovac and Zantac.