Friday, February 24, 2012

Calzone Agency Tapped to Promote Horse Racing

For Immediate Release

Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino contact:
Mike Howard

Media contact:
Julie Calzone
337.235.2924 ext.18

(Lafayette, La.) – Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino has hired the Louisiana-based firm, Calzone advertising | innovation | public relations, to market its horse racing program.

Calzone will design promotions and marketing activities to increase attendance at the racetrack by creating new fans, increasing lifetime value of current customers and integrating the successful rewards and database marketing systems developed by the Opelousas, Louisiana –based facility. The program will be a team effort with the Evangeline Downs racing and marketing staff.

“We want to create more traction and visibility for the racing product,” said Mike Howard, general manager for Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino. “Calzone has several years of experience in horse racing and has helped this industry through many changes including off track betting, video poker, slots at the racetrack and our move from Carencro and is experienced with Louisiana’s breeding and racing incentive programs.”

Calzone has served in many capacities for Evangeline Downs as the agency of record and/or the public relations firm for the track. Owner, Julie Calzone, is a well-known horsewoman with many equestrian-related businesses and horses of her own. She is an active rider, trainer and breeder of sport horses.

“We are passionate about horse racing in Louisiana,” said Calzone. “It is great entertainment and we are planning on promoting Evangeline Downs’ Cajun-racing roots. It is what makes Evangeline Downs unique in this business. That is marketable at many levels.”

“Louisiana has the most successful racing and breeding incentive program in North America,” said Steve Darbonne, director of racing operations. “We believe our racing program is one of the best entertainment values and something the whole family can enjoy.”

While bettors must be 18 years of age or older, the racetrack admits people of all ages.

“We want to get people off their mobile devices, tablets and computers and get them to socialize with real people,” said Calzone. “We bet people will have a lot more fun and interesting experiences than any device can provide!”

The 2012 thoroughbred racing season begins on April 18 and runs through Labor Day. Daily post time (start of the first race) is 5:40 p.m Wednesdays through Saturdays. For more information, go to

Monday, February 6, 2012

Internships Are Important to Success after College

The number one question college seniors are asked when graduating is “What career do you want to obtain with your degree?” As many students are asked that question after graduating, I asked myself that at the end of my sophomore year.

Majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Business, I realized the fashion world is so broad with many career options to choose from such as Visual Merchandiser, Retail Manager and Assortment Buyer. I knew I did not want to sit behind a desk and crunch numbers all day or work a constant nine to five. I wanted to be in the middle of everything fashion related and communicating with clients daily. Being in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, I was appointed Social Chair. The position included planning social events, communicating to other sororities and fraternities, pricing venues, public speaking, and setting event budgets. Doing these tasks, I realized that Social Chair and Fashion Public Relations went hand-in-hand. Fashion is constantly evolving and demanding just as AKA.

I wanted to understand how to prepare for post-graduation career success in Fashion PR. Reading blogs and talking to many professionals, I found that an internship would be a great start in gaining experience. Internships allow students to obtain experience, understand the roles of the position, and possibly secure a position in the company after interning. Since Lafayette Fashion PR agencies are scarce, I applied to PR/Advertising companies that varied in clients other than fashion. Through Career Services, I interviewed at Calzone and Associates and started immediately.

A typical day in the office is not a typical day. While Calzone and Associates manages over thirty clients, no client is the same. My main responsibilities as an intern include updating spreadsheets, attending meetings, update social medias, writing newsletters and additional tasks that come up during the day.

Interning also comes with challenges that force you to learn about yourself and the industry. The challenges I have come across are being a better writer and understanding that confidence is the key. Writing is such a strong suit in PR. You have to speak well for people to take you seriously, especially if you are the person that is speaking for them. Also, it’s not what you say but more how you say it. Confidence also plays an important role in PR. If a client comes in and sees how motivated, strong and confident you are, they are assured and trust that you will do the best work possible.

I recommend that all college students do at least three internships during their college career. All companies ask for resumes and the more experience you have at a young age, the greater chance you have at gaining your career faster. This shows the employer that you are ready to work. Gaining first-hand insight in an industry is the best way to find if it is for you.

- Ashley Livingston