Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Irn-Bru Tamer - Adrian Troy, Head of Marketing, AG Barr

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Irn-Bru Tamer - Adrian Troy, Head of Marketing, AG Barr

Article excerpt

For his first major campaign since joining soft-drinks company AG Barr in July, Adrian Troy has clocked up a notable first - a mild-mannered Irn-Bru ad. At best, the work could be described as slightly cheeky, at worst, tame.

The ad, by The Leith Agency, features an animation inspired by Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, accompanied by a reworked version of Welsh warbler Aled Jones' 80s hit Walking in the Air.

It shows the snowman and the red-haired boy from Briggs' story flying over Scottish landmarks, with the youngster refusing to share his Irn-Bru. The snowman has the last laugh as he snatches the can from the boy and drops him from a great height - though he does land safely in some deep snow.

At the press launch of the ad, attended by a raft of Scottish media - the unveiling of an Irn-Bru ad is considered quite an event north of the border - one journalist provoked mumbles of agreement when he said he had expected it to show something along the lines of 'baby Jesus being booted out of his crib'.

The assumption is fair. When it comes to Irn-Bru ads, a pattern has developed: they attract complaints, press coverage of said complaints, an ASA ruling and, in some cases, a ban. A cynic would say the brand courts controversy deliberately, which is vehemently denied by Troy, who prefers to see the brand as a 'likeable maverick'. 'It's not the starting point of our advertising process to be controversial. That's in nobody's interest,' he says.

Neither does Troy accept that the new ad is tame, though he does concede that AG Barr is conscious that Christmas is a feel-good time and wants to leave people with a 'warm feeling'.

Only viewers in Scotland will be able to judge whether the brand has gone soft, as the ad will not air elsewhere. In the past, there has been talk of Irn-Bru cracking England, but Troy seems content for it to be a challenger in the North of England, a 'repertoire' brand in the South, and a leading brand in Scotland.

He believes it is better to focus resources in the South on brands such as Orangina and water brand Strathmore, which AG Barr acquired in May and is to be developed as a grocery brand. A UK relaunch of Tizer, which Troy says will 'build on its past', is also in the pipeline. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.