John Smith’s gallops into Aintree

John Smith’s is launching a campaign featuring “Smithy”, the 5-year old racehorse the company owns, who is also the face of the brand’s sponsorship of the Aintree Grand National.
Marketing agency Space has developed an integrated marketing campaign which aims to bring John Smith’s racing sponsorship programme to life for customers in the run-up to the National, while encouraging purchase of John Smith’s across on and off trade outlets, giving away a free share in Smithy for every pint purchased.
The campaign comprises on and off trade promotions, digital, advertising and media partnership activity. Once registered, Smithy shareholders will receive a free £50 match bet from Paddy Power, a free one-week trial to Racing UK plus access to £50,000 worth of racing prizes, offers and experiences, including free bets.
As part of the campaign, the Heineken UK-owned ale brand is launching a nationwide on-pack promotion on almost a million 10-, 12- and 20-can packs for the off-trade sector, which has also been developed by Space.
Selected multiple retailers are supporting the promotion, including Asda, which will offer shoppers a free John Smith’s pint glass with every 20 pack purchase. In addition the campaign is targeting the impulse channel, providing special point of sale racing kits to 3,500 Nisa stores.
Extensive on-trade activity with 6,400 pubs and clubs across the UK includes “Smithy’s £1m Grand National Giveaway”, which aims to leverage the company’s long-running sponsorship of the event. Every pint purchased comes with a game card, which splits into two parts: part one offers a free share in Smithy, while part two is a ‘No Nonsense’ bet (e.g. 20 horses to complete the race) with prize values from £5 to £500. Over £1m is up for grabs, dependent on the result of the big race.
Karen Crowley, senior brand manager for John Smith’s at Heineken UK, says: “Smithy is the face of John Smith’s racing and this promotion allows racing fans be a part of the action, follow Smithy’s progress and collect great rewards along the way. Consumer interest reaches fever pitch as we near the John Smith’s Grand National and John Smith’s long, unrivalled association with the sport gives retailers and our on-trade customers the chance to capitalise on the sales opportunity.”
Smithy, a thoroughbred five-year-old gelding, has been racing throughout the current season and finished a creditable second in his last outing at Musselburgh. He was purchased by John Smith’s in 2010 to leverage the brand’s sponsorship of the Grand National and make racing more accessible for John Smith’s drinkers for whom racing is a key interest.
Space managing partner David Atkinson said: “John Smith’s is a brand with a long and impressive heritage and a unique place in the hearts of British beer drinkers. We hope that Smithy will attract affection and interest from the brand’s core audience and in return they will be able to experience horse racing from a new perspective.”

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