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Irn Bru: How A Change Of Creative Strategy Gave A Long Established Brand New Life "Made In Scotland From Girders"

4655 words - 19 pages

This is the story of Irn-Bru, the sweet and fizzy soft drink which originated in Scotland over 90 years ago, and is as familiar to generations of children as Rangers and Celtic.Irn-Bru sales were worth £52 million (at RSP) in 1989 and 86% of these sales come from Scotland. However, while sales in Scotland were increasing every year, they were not increasing as fast as the total market, and this declining share was undermining ambitions for the brand elsewhere in the UK.What's more, the gap was widening. The sizzling summer of 1989 raised total carbonate sales by 30%, while Irn-Bru's only rose by 10%. The problem was reflected in a decline in the number of drinkers of Irn-Bru, especially young ones.This was particularly worrying for although Irn-Bru is a family drink, enjoyed by all age groups, teenagers were an increasingly important influence in the market and Irn-Bru was losing most of its drinkers from that age group.One problem was the recent proliferation of new brands in Scotland, all clamouring for attention and putting all the incumbent brands (including Coke) under increasing pressure.Another problem was the sheer length of time Irn-Bru has been around. After all, parents drank it. To older teenagers, seeking their own identity that made it 'uncool'. It was associated with home; it lacked 'street' credibility.Research revealed how strongly advertising-led was the appeal of the competition.For years, Irn-Bru's advertising concentrated on product attributes, its Scottish origins, and the supposition that it contained iron; hence the line, used in all advertising, 'Made in Scotland from Girders'.It no longer seemed to be working in the best interest of the brand.Competitors such as Coke, were liked for being bright, lively, glossy, 'American', and therefore 'cool'. Irn-Bru seemed bleak, grey, industrial, and in no way aspirational.But research also showed a weakness in competitive, advertising-led appeal. It was unreal, an adman's dream, the object of mocking laughter.Herein lay the opportunity; Irn-Bru could conspire with its target audience against its competitors.The strategy - make Irn-Bru the anti-hero of the soft drinks world.The aim - to give Irn-Bru a radical image, cutting a swathe through established advertising convention, and reflecting teenage rebellion against parental convention. It was uniquely suited to Irn-Bru's tough, no-nonsense personality.The solution - a new TV campaign which lampooned Coke-style advertising with mischievous and anarchic wit.The first execution - 'Up the Irns' - ran in Scotland from May 1990, followed by the second execution - 'Any Old Irns' - in June 1991.TV targeting of older children and teenagers remained the same as in previous campaigns, and TVR weights at similar levels, as was share of voice.The result - far greater impact for Irn-Bru than earlier campaigns, generating spontaneous recall equal to that of Coca-Cola (with three times as many TVRs).In the 24 months since May 1990, Irn-Bru's...

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