John Smiths Grand National on Channel 4

Channel 4 launched a major new marketing campaign for horse racing in the UK ahead of the Grand National with a television commercial set in Liverpool city. Ten horses break out of Aintree Racecourse, where the Grand National was held on April 6, to race through streets, allotments, back gardens, parks and ponds. Cars, fences, park benches and a skate park take the place of legendary jumps The Chair, Becher’s Brook and Canal Turn. The ad is set to The Night Marchers’ ‘Thar she blows’ with Channel 4 racing commentator Simon Holt providing live racing commentary.

Channel 4 Grand National The Original Extreme Sport

James Walker, Channel 4 Head of Marketing said: “Channel 4 is now the home of racing and we are showing all the key racing events in 2013. The Grand National is the people’s race and we wanted to give that a particular C4 spin and make horse racing feel accessible and modern.”

The TV trail was supported with a nationwide poster campaign portraying post-race, muddied jockeys Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty, providing another alternative perspective to racing, the extreme sports jockeys.

Channel 4 Grand National Ruby Walsh poster

Channel 4 Grand National Barry Geraghty poster

Grand National Credits

The Grand National campaign was developed at 4Creative by creative directors Chris Bovill and John Allison, creative Keith McCarthy, business director Olivia Browne, working with Channel 4 head of marketing James Walker.

Filming was shot by director Keith McCarthy with 4Creative executive producer Shananne Lane, producer Louise Oliver, director of photography Chris Sabogal and production designer Chris Lowe. 45 hours of footage was shot over two days using 44 cameras and a cast and crew of almost 300 people, including race and stunt horses and jockeys. Cameras included Arri Alexas and GoPros attached to the jockeys’ heads.

Horse choreography was by Devil’s Horsemen.

Editor was Tim Hardy at Stitch Editing.

Post production was done at MPC by VFX supervisor Adam Crocker and colourist George K.

Audio post production was by Rich Martin at Envy.

Photographs used in the Channel 4 advertisements were taken by photographer Spencer Murphy.