Latest News

Flemington marquee ditches reality stars


Australian actor Nicole Kidman at the Swisse marquee in the Birdcage on Victoria Derby Day at Flemington racecourse, in Melbourne, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Flemington's Birdcage enclosure was once the place to see stars like Naomi Campbell, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie.

Then it was the place to be seen if you were a social media influencer or reality TV star trying to boost your profile.

In 2019 marquees are choosing to spend less money flying in stars, and more on corporate customers, while scrapping "hangers-on" from their guest lists.

Pernod Ricard's Mumm, which has spent a decade building a reputation as the party marquee, is among those going classy this year.

Instead of the theatrical stage works which have in the past included a giant rocket, a yacht or swimming pool, the 2019 marquee replicates a Parisian hotel, complete with bellboys, a concierge, an elevator photo booth and a "press for champagne" button.

"When you've got an exclusive hotel, you've got to be a little bit harder on the door, a little bit guarded when it comes to guests," Mumm's Chris Sheehy he told AAP at Thursday's unveiling.

Jeweller Kennedy is also paring back the celebrity line-up in its marquee, which has doubled in size and moved to the 'Millionaire's row" of the enclosure.

"Our customers are the only reason we are here," Jaimee Belle Kennedy told AAP.

"The marquee is a way of rewarding them and thanking them for being customers."

The blonde beauty and her husband James Kennedy recently launched their own stable and said they are staunchly against whips being used on their horses.

Kennedy said she was sickened by last week's ABC 7.30 program, which broadcast footage of racehorses being mistreated and sent to a slaughterhouse.

"It's pretty disappointing. It really affected me but I'm hoping (the VRC) can come up with a solution," she said.

Seppelt Wines and brewer Furphy are also back for a second year, with their marquees remaining exclusive to corporate customers.

"From a marketing perspective it makes a lot of sense to be customer-focused," RMIT senior marketing lecturer Dr Lauren Gurrieri told AAP, adding brands were eschewing the bigger-is-best approach.

"Brands haven't felt that that is on message for them and now they're wanting to be true to their target audiences," she said.

"They're going to try to return to the glamour of year's past."

Among the 24 marquees, 12 are branded, with 11 private and one reserved for members.

© AAP 2019