John Smith’s ends Grand National sponsorship

John Smith’s is to end its title sponsorship of the Grand National horse race after nine-years

Beer brand to focus brand building efforts on lower profile events.

The brand has been associated with the annual race since 2005. Karen Crowley, brand manager for John Smith’s, says the decision to end its deal after the next race in April 2013 is a “difficult one” but it is the right time to “move on”.

It now plans to focus more of its marketing activity on targeting consumers in pubs, clubs and supermarkets.

The brand will continue to be involved with the sport at other lower-tier events, including sponsorship of the John Smith’s Cup at York Races and the Northumberland Plate.

Karen Crowley, brand manager for John Smith’s, says: “We end our long association in the knowledge we have created a successful and significant sponsorship model that will serve Aintree and its new sponsors well in the future.

“Working closely with the Aintree team, we’ve developed a number of innovative concepts which have helped return the race to the hearts and minds of the British public. We end our long association in the knowledge we have created a successful and significant sponsorship model that will serve Aintree and its new sponsors well in the future.”

John Baker, regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses North, the company responsible for running Aintree, where the National takes place, says John Smith’s , which launched its first TV advert (below) for the event in March, has been “ instrumental” in delivering “exciting” marketing initiatives around the race.

This year’s race attracted 11.1 million viewers to the BBC and it remains to be seen whether this figure will be maintained when coverage switches to Channel 4 next year. However, organisers are confident that the high profile of the race will mean that a new sponsor should not be too bard to find.

Baker adds: “We are in the process of finalising our sponsorship strategy to ensure the event remains one of the ‘Crown Jewels’ in the worldwide sporting calendar but our focus now is to ensure that in 2013 John Smith’s are given a fitting farewell to the sponsorship of the Grand National.” 

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