Aintree ‘Let The Show Begin’ Crabbie’s Grand National Promo

In January rights owner Aintree Racecourse and the Jockey Club North West, in tandem with title sponsor Crabbie’s, began rolling out their Grand National campaign ‘The Grandest Show, The Greatest Drama’.


The campaign’s creative focuses on a circus/cabaret style master of ceremonies and it seeks to portray the captivating entertainment and thrillingly unpredictable nature of what the rights owner unsurprisingly claims is ‘the greatest race in the world’.


According to the rights owner, around 600 million people around the world watch the race broadcast.


The initiative is led by a 30-second TV advert that offers the viewers multiple aspects of the big race: such as the master of ceremonies waving the starting flag, plus a nod to Ladies Day acknowledging the preparation and planning, plus shots of the real stars of the show – the horses and jockies.



The spot, which initially ran across ITV Granada, Border and Channel 4, premiered during the first break of Emmerdale.


It was shot at three main locations: Aintree home city Liverpool, Leeds and Cheshire.


The shoot spans Liverpool landmark the Royal Liver Building and a room in the Hope Street Hotel, it was also partially filmed a Farrow’s Studio in Leeds, while in Cheshire the ad features trainer Donald McCain’s stables in Bankhouse.


This latter location provides a neat link to new sponsor Crabbie’s, as the brand’s late owner John Halewood (founder of parent company Halewood International), had a long established relationship with Aintree and racing not least through his ownership of the 2004 Grand National winner Amberleigh House – who was trained by Ginger McCain.


The campaign continues across outdoor, print and digital platforms.


Billboard work initially focuses throughout the race’s North West home region – featuring across 48 sheet and 6 sheet sites in Merseyside and Greater Manchester, as well as megarears in these locations.


Outdoor work also spans giant digital screens at London Euston.


A new website has been created to underpin the campaign at http://www.thecrabbiesgrandnational.co.uk/.


The campaign’s twin objectives are to drive awareness and ticket sales across the three day festival.


According to the Jockey Club, it also aims to enhance and elevate the perception of Ladies Day with an approach that holds on to the core audience whilst also driving in a new one.


The property owner also uses the campaign to introduce Crabbie’s, the UK’s number one selling alcoholic ginger beer, as the new title sponsor of the race.


A three-year deal that sees the 2014 Grand National run for a £1m purse for the first time.


Crabbie’s signed up as title sponsor of the Grand National last year as part of a multi-million sponsorship package which was a key element in Halewood International’s, the brand’s owner, strategy of raising brand awareness through backing sports events.


‘2014 is a really significant year for Aintree and the Grand National. We have a new title sponsor in Crabbie’s and we wanted to create a campaign which raises the bar to attract a broader reaching audience to what is one of the greatest sporting events in the world,’ explains John Baker, Regional Director for The Jockey Club in the North West.


‘It has always been the family’s ambition to sponsor the race and all of us at Halewood International and Crabbie’s are delighted to be part of the excitement, the drama and the thrill of the World’s greatest steeplechase,’ says Peter Eaton Senior, Deputy Chairman of Crabbie’s owner Halewood International.


‘Both the family and the company will be fully supporting the Jockey Club’s campaign, as we all know that the world stands still for the Grand National and we want to ensure the Crabbie’s Grand National is the best in the festival’s proud history.’


The 2014 work, created by independent agency Loaf Creative, represents Aintree Racecourse’s biggest Grand National advertising campaign ever.


‘We have been working on the campaign for a number of months now and are very excited about the launch which will go live on Monday 6th January,’ explains Nadine Mansfield, Regional Head of Marketing for The Jockey Club in the North West.


‘In June 2013 we carried out a competitive pitch process to select the best idea from the best agency, and we appointed the talented Loaf agency to create the campaign entitled ‘The Grandest Show, The Greatest Drama.




Crabbie’s three-year sponsorship deal, which saw the Aintree-held horse racing event rebranded as the Crabbie’s Grand National.


The new title sponsorship sees the drinks firm have naming rights for the three races over the Grand National meet: the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase, the Crabbie’s Topham Chase and the Crabbie’s Grand National. 


Crabbie’s also gains sponsorship category exclusivity for ginger beer and cider products for the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival.


The Crabbie’s product range is already sold at Aintree and the 14 other tracks within Jockey Club Racecourses, the UK’s largest racecourse group.


The British brand claims the partnership will provide it with a potential UK audience of 9 million – a figure which combines the 50,000 on-track crowd at the three-day event with the TV audience of the Grand National’s television broadcast deal with Channel 4.


The global viewing audience is estimated to reach 600 million.


The deal, which runs until 2016, builds on Hale International’s existing sponsorship of the Scottish Open, of Scottish football side Hibernian FC and of English Premiership sides Everton and West Bromwich Albion.


Other Crabbie’s sponsorship programmes in recent years have included The National Television Awards and The British Comedy Awards.


These deals reflect the recent growth of the UK perry, cider and fruit alcohol segment – partly stemming from the contemporary popularity of summer festival culture and the brand is using sport to expand further beyond this core segment.


The Grand National marks the beginning of the summer events calendar, and Crabbies aim to use it to create brand awareness at the beginning of a highly profitable events season and to introduce new flavours: including raspberry, and strawberry and lime drinks. 


The new sponsors acquired the rights after beer brand John Smith’s ended its high profile, nine-year Grand National sponsorship.


According to brand manager Karen Crowley, the decision came after a ‘difficult one’, but the beer brand is now changing its strategy to focus more of its marketing work on targeting consumers in pubs, clubs and supermarkets.




Crabbies Grand National Website



Crabbies Website



Aintree Grand National Website



Loaf Creative Website




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