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A History of Smithwick’s Advertising Campaigns

A History of Smithwick’s Advertising Campaigns

Smithwick’s has carved out a reputation as a beer unafraid of doing things its own way. This can be seen across its advertising history as it forged its identity through bold, daring, and inventive advertising campaigns. Take a step back through time as we chart the origins of its adverts, tracing its legacy right up to today.

A Predictive Campaign

Kilkenny was a hub for fine beers when Smithwick’s first began its brewing journey. To survive in this hub of competition the brand had to be synonymous with quality. Reliability combined with word of mouth kept it in the people’s hearts and minds. But by the 1930s, advertising was a fact of life. Walter Smithwick decided to market his bottled ale as Smithwick’s No.1 with large ads soon appearing on buses, trams, and newspapers across the country of Ireland. It would prove to be a wise move as Smithwick’s went on to win the coveted first prize at the London Bottled Beer Competition on the 8th of October 1937, beating out all other brewers in the British commonwealth.

Smithwick's time ale 1961

Smithwick’s in Print

Smithwick’s print advertising continued to serve as a guarantee of its quality and a promise of good times, with slogans such as “Smithwick’s Makes it Great”, “Smithwick’s Time”, and the iconic “At the Heart of the Night” campaign during the 1990s which featured a group of revellers gathering over a pint. Additionally, some Smithwick’s adverts focused on the origins of the hops, which give the beer its unique flavour. Overall, these print campaigns served to highlight what Smithwick’s does best: its unique taste profile. A balanced ale that delivers both sweetness and bitterness, which makes it easy to drink, while still delivering a ton of flavour. Perfect for any occasion.

Smithwick's poster from 1990

Smithwick’s on the Small Screen

In 2013, Smithwick's launched a major advertising campaign across TV, print, digital, PR and trade on the island of Ireland. The new campaign starred a beer-making 'Smithwick’s squirrel' alongside a new tagline for the 300-year-old brand: “Experience. It's what you do with it that counts”. The TV spot focuses on the Smithwick's squirrel at the brewery at night after the Master Brewers have left. Adamant to perfect the brew, the squirrel toils to perfect the pint just before they return. At the end of the ad the Kaiser Chiefs track ‘Learnt My Lesson Well’ plays just as it’s revealed that, much like the Smithwick’s brewing family, the squirrel and his forefathers have been instrumental in crafting and perfecting the quality of the ale all along.

A New Approach to an Old Problem

In December 2021, a new advertising campaign was launched focusing on the brand’s history, legacy, and unique taste profile. Running across TV, radio, digital audio, and social media, the “Indescribably Delicious'' campaign came from the fact that Smithwick’s can often be difficult to describe because there’s simply nothing that tastes like it. Going back to its beginnings in 1710, the TV advert features two friends meeting at a tavern for a pint of Smithwick’s and trying to put a finger on exactly what they’re tasting. Time passes as Ireland is electrified and launched into the future, as the debate rages on. The one thing they can agree on is that it's indescribably delicious.

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