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Press Release


John Smith's backs a winner

John Smith's backs a winner

John Smith’s, the UK’s number one ale from Scottish & Newcastle, will offer drinkers a No Nonsense chance to experience horse racing from the inside in January – all for the price of a pint!

‘Smithy, the People’s Racehorse’ campaign, which replaces the ‘John Smith’s People’s Race’ which ran for three successful years, will offer drinkers in pubs and clubs the opportunity to own a share in Smithy, a thoroughbred three-year old chestnut gelding by 2003 Derby winner Kris Kin.

The campaign, created by leading integrated marketing agency – Space - is designed to leverage John Smith’s sponsorship of the Grand National and their 90 sponsored race meetings across the country.

John Smith’s No Nonsense philosophy is at the heart of the campaign, which aims to demystify the Sport of Kings and give John Smith’s drinkers an insiders’ view of the world of racing. Space will implement the integrated marketing campaign which will be amplified through sponsorship, advertising, a media partnership, digital, mobile, in-pub communications, activity at key races in the John Smith’s racing calendar and online at

All communication will build the persona of Smithy, allowing John Smith’s to show the ins and outs of horse racing through his No Nonsense lens.

Thousands of John Smith’s on-trade stockists across the UK will take part in a ‘Smithy the Horse’ promotion from January which will see a share distributed to those who purchase a pint of John Smith’s: all the consumer will need to do is register it to take part.

The promotion will be highly interactive. All ‘Smithy owners’ will have the opportunity to vote online on key decisions on his progress, for example on the meets he should race at (in consultation with his trainer). They will also receive regular updates on Smithy’s progress and be able to read about Smithy’s No Nonsense views at, through a national newspaper partnership and via his Facebook fan site.

Furthermore, all owners will have the chance to meet Smithy at races and at his stables throughout the campaign. Smithy, who will race under the name ‘Smithy The Horse’, is expected to run his first race in January to coincide with the launch of the pub promotion.

Smithy will be trained by leading trainer Donald McCain at his Bank House stables in Cheshire where it is hoped he will be inspired by the proximity of star horses such as Cloudy Lane and Whiteoak. Donald and his father Ginger McCain (who trained Grand National legend Red Rum) have worked closely with Grand National winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald in the selection of Smithy as the horse to run in John Smith’s colours next year.

Gareth Turner, Senior Brand Manager – John Smith’s, said: “We are very excited by the ‘Smithy, the People’s Racehorse’ campaign. Particularly as our research tells us our drinkers would relish the chance to share ownership of a racehorse, something they would never normally be able to do.

“Space has created much more than just an exciting double-edged campaign that engages with core John Smith’s drinkers. In Smithy we have a new ambassador for John Smith’s racing who will be followed by up to 250,000 share-owning consumers next year.”

David Atkinson, Managing Partner at Space, said: “To follow the success of the John Smith’s People’s Race we were looking to create a campaign that put John Smith’s at the heart of the conversation in the world of horse racing. We believe that ‘Smithy, the People’s Racehorse’ is an innovation in the industry, and will capture the hearts and minds of John Smith’s drinkers and horse racing fans”.

“We hope that Smithy is successful, but more importantly that we can enjoy his outings with a pint of John Smith’s”. Smithy’s introduction coincides with the announcement that Scottish and Newcastle will continue to sponsor the John Smith’s Grand National for a further three years when the current agreement expires next year.


Media contacts: Ben Powell at Loudmouth PR. Tel: 0207 981 9859, e: Lorna Webley at Loudmouth PR. Tel: 01494 472226, e:

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