John Smith’s Smithy the Horse

John Smith’s Smithy the Horse

Integrated Campaign




Unite all of John Smith’s horse racing properties under one ‘no nonsense’ umbrella.


We bought a racehorse, named him Smithy, and gave John Smith’s drinkers a share in him for the price of a pint.

Smithy became the face of John Smith’s racing, and led John Smith’s sponsorship of the Grand National - whilst providing a platform for connecting 250 other racing sponsorships across the UK together. 

The two-year campaign gave drinkers the opportunity to get their share via the on and off-trade, and was supported with CRM to shareholders, experiential and shopper comms. A share gave drinkers the opportunity to experience the life of a shareholder, with votes to decide anything from which Jockey should ride Smithy, to where he should race next. 

Smithy ‘fronted’ Grand National-specific promotions and all racing comms, including John Smith’s BOGOF race day ticket offer for pubs and drinkers.

This was a major part of a 5 year relationship with John Smith’s, featuring horse racing activation in the on-trade, additional sponsorship activations, and advertising. 


Increase in on-trade share and volume sales

18,500 registrations for shares in Smithy

569% sales uplift in Tesco

2000% sales uplift in Asda

Best performing off-trade activations in the ale category in a decade


IMC European Award, Innovative Idea or Concept – Bronze

IPM Award, Best Alcoholic Drinks Campaign – Gold

IPM Award, Best Trial & Awareness Campaign – Silver

MAA Best Award, Creative Sales Promotion Communications

MAA Best Award, Sales Promotion Led Campaign

MAAW Globe Award, Best Retail Key Account or Channel Specific Campaign in The World – Gold

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