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Press Release


Smithy The Horse under starters orders

Smithy The Horse under starters orders

John Smith’s, the UK’s number one ale from Heineken UK, is launching a second season of advertising and promotions with Smithy, the People’s Racehorse as its central focus.

Leading marketing agency, Space, has developed a new, second year integrated marketing campaign, which includes advertising, a national media partnership, digital, mobile, on and off-trade promotions and activity at key races in the John Smith’s racing calendar.

The campaign comes under starter’s orders with the launch of the new interactive Smithy website (, which is designed to create greater engagement and dialogue with users via live racing updates, video footage, guest blogs and over £50K of racing prizes and offers.

The launch also coincides with a digital re-engagement campaign to all of last season’s shareholders. The campaign will unfold over the course of the 2010-11 Jumps season and aims to increase the number of Smithy shareholders by delivering exclusive access to the racing world through an enhanced calendar of promotions, events and offers exclusively for shareholders throughout the racing season, dedicated on-pack communication and a massive on-trade promotion leveraging the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National in April.

Smithy, a thoroughbred four-year-old gelding, was purchased by John Smith’s last year 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. Smithy became the face of the brand in a unique on-trade campaign that resulted in thousands of John Smith’s drinkers owning a share of the up and coming racehorse simply by ‘buying a pint’ of John Smith’s.

An extensive Smithy shareholder recruitment campaign will be launched through key supermarket partners from March 2011 and thousands of John Smith’s on-trade stockists will also take part in the initiative which gives everyone buying a pint of John Smith’s a share in Smithy. Smithy who races under the name ‘Smithy The Horse’ is expected to run his first race this season in the next couple of weeks with a further four or five appearances across the rest of the jumps season.

Gareth Turner, Senior Brand Manager at John Smith’s, says: “Back by popular demand, Smithy is here to stay! Last season’s shareholders loved the concept and research told us they want more opportunities to get involved with Smithy and the racing world. With that in mind, we’ve built a whole range of additional engagement opportunities into this season’s programme which shareholders can access via the new website, on their mobile and on-pack. We’re upping the ante and encouraging consumers to get involved with Smithy and John Smith’s by increasing the campaign’s profile in supermarkets, pubs and clubs.”

David Atkinson, Managing Partner at Space adds, “Smithy is already a great ambassador for John Smith’s in the racing world. Now we’re making the campaign work harder, reach a wider audience and offer more to shareholders – online, at race meetings and through retail outlets. The concept of owning a share in Smithy has even greater appeal and relevance to shareholders and we’re looking forward to seeing the campaign results come in over the next few months. This campaign unites all the elements that make for a big-scale, integrated campaign reaching John Smith’s drinkers in all environments.”


About John Smith’s and racing JOHN SMITH’S, the UK’s No 1 ale was installed as the Grand National favourite in 2005 after saddling up to sponsor the world’s most famous horse race in the first of three 3-year agreements between brand owners Heineken UK and Aintree Racecourse. The 2011 John Smith’s Grand National meeting will take place from April 7th-9th in front of 150,000 spectators and a worldwide television audience spanning more than 140 countries and 600 million people. John Smith’s is horse racing’s biggest commercial sponsor, backing major flat and jump races at more than 30 courses including: the John Smith’s Cup at York, he John Smith’s Northumberland Plate and the John Smith’s Stakes at Newbury.

About Space One of the UK’s leading integrated marketing agencies, Space offers a full range of on and offline marketing disciplines, including sales promotion, advertising, brand experience, direct marketing, and sponsorship through their Space Sport & Entertainment (SS&E) division. Space is a multi-award winning agency. As well as awards for NIVEA, SW England, Wrigley and Samsung, Space scooped an unprecedented hat-trick of Grand Prix Awards, including the Marketing Agencies Association Worldwide (MAAW) ‘Best in the World’, the IMC European ‘Grand Prix’ and the ISP ‘Grand Prix’ for their Eurostar Quest campaign linking Eurostar to the Sony Pictures da Vinci Code movie. They have also won Marketing magazine’s Sales Promotion Agency of the Year. Space works with a wide variety of clients, from blue-chip to niche and creative, including Eurostar, NIVEA, Heineken UK, Heineken France, Samsung, SCA (Bodyform and Tena), South West England, Visit Britain, BiC, and The Telegraph, to name a few. Media contacts: Lorna Webley at Loudmouth PR. Tel: 01494 472226, e: Kim Van Haeften at Loudmouth PR. Tel: 01306 885000, e:

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