John Smith’s Grand National romps home

Last night, Aesop’s John Smith’s Grand National campaign struck gold at the MAA Best Awards in the sponsorship category.

The John Smith’s work was in good company, fighting off challenges from Coca-Cola (BD Network), Sony Ericsson Xperia (iris) and FedEx (gyro); but in the end our strong creative coupled with a robust strategy won through, and proved how the agency’s brand storytelling model can be applied to sponsorship.

The campaign’s objective was to boost the ‘No Nonsense’ brand equity to racing fans. We didn’t want to limit the activity to just sticking a logo on a jockey’s arse – we did that as well – instead we developed an important role for the brand, that of entertainer.

Through a dominating media campaign we surrounded the race-goer on their journey from the city centre to the racecourse bars, with humorous, racing relevant messages.  Creative use of ambient media – messaging on all winning horse blankets across the 3 days – meant that the brand values were also beamed into millions of homes through the BBC’s TV coverage.

Aesop’s Client Director, Joe Rolls, last night said: “We’re delighted with the award. Leveraging the Grand National sponsorship like this is a unique approach, never done before in Aintree’s history. It not only drives awareness to millions of racing fans but works hard to build brand equity especially during times of no TV advertising.”

It was something like that, the music was quite loud at the time but he looked very pleased anyway.