How I missed the Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is one of the biggest events in the Australian sporting calendar and well I was quite excited to watch it I made sure that I had the start time correct as Brisbane is not part of daylight savings so there is always a mixup and confusion each year as to when the race actually starts.  I saw that the new official Melbourne Cup website had a large and very prominent flash countdown application sponsored by luxury watchmaker Longines as the official sponsor showing at the top of their website.

Longines ClockBut that is where all things went downhill as I later discovered this Flash application was actually counting down based on the visitors PC clock not on when the actual race was due to start but it was far too late I had missed the race that stops the nation, thanks to Longines.  You can see that the 1:46 was actually generated by changing the clock on my PC, but it seems that the clock has also now vanished after a number of public tweets and updates about the issue.

Who is to blame?

The poor decision by either the Victorian Racing committee in the use of a untested application or was it Citrus agency that should be responsible for the website, the failure led to many internationally visitors and visitors from outside NSW & VIC being advised of the wrong time for the race to start and that doesn’t even include the failure to stream updates live via the website. For such a high profile event it’s really just not good enough, if you can’t get the basics right like a countdown clock, don’t use it!

What does it mean for Longines?

What the bigger issue is that the brand Longines is one that I will always associate with when I think about the time I missed watching the Melbourne Cup, so I won’t be linking Longines to a quality time piece but to a reason why I managed to miss the event.  So the web developers laziness to test the Flash application before rolling it out on a live website during a national event has damaged the image of Longines as a watch brand that I would trust and it’s likely the case for a number of other visitors.

If you are trusting a company to do the development of applications ensure they take more than 30 seconds to actually test they function correctly and put your brand reputation in the mud as Victoria racing has managed to do with Longines.

One comment

  1. Thank you for your feedback about the flash count down clock that was featured on the Melbourne Cup Carnival website in the lead up to the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup.

    Yes you are correct, after further investigation we can confirm that the count down clock was counting down based on the visitor’s local time (defined by the time set on their PC).

    We can also confirm that up until Daylight Saving Time the count down clock was correctly working for eastern states using Australian Eastern Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time began from the first Sunday in October and as it is not observed in all eastern states the count down clock unfortunately would not have been working correctly in Queensland from this time. It would have only been working for states that move to Australian Eastern Daylight Time.

    It was an oversight and in hindsight we should have included a note next to the clock clearly stating the count down clock was built to count down to 3pm AEST for Victoria (and any other state in Australia where Daylight Saving Time is observed during the warmer months of the year) and should not be used for other states and countries. We understand this is very limiting and we are committed to fixing the issue to ensure accuracy regardless of location and timezone.

    To clarify one point, the count down clock was taken off the website after the race was run and not before this time.

    The Victoria Racing Club and Citrus sincerely apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused. We would like to reiterate that Longines were in no way responsible for the timing error encountered. We appreciate your feedback so that we can ensure the issue is rectified for 2011 and beyond.