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IRN-BRU Snowman

IRN-BRU Snowman


IRN-BRU has a successful advertising legacy.  However Coke have been advertising at Christmas since the 1930s.

For many, the familiar ‘Holidays are coming’ jingle and epic TV ad featuring the brightly lit train, heralds the start of the Christmas season .

In as much as an advertiser can, they ‘owned’ Christmas – they even changed the colour of Father Christmas’ coat to match their bottle.

However with a successful Christmas sales period a priority, AG BARR decided that, for the first time in their history, they should develop an IRN-BRU Christmas TV advertising campaign.

The objectives driving the Christmas advertising campaign for IRN-BRU were to be three fold:

1. To enhance IRN-BRU’s stature and the public’s affection for the brand

2. To reinforce existing drinkers’ loyalty and win back lapsed users who have drifted into other soft drinks categories

3. To position IRN-BRU as an essential part of the Christmas festivities


“We’re walking in the air…”

Most scripts never make it beyond the internal jury phase.  But, there’s always a moment in a script review when everyone recognises that the script they are being presented is THE ONE. 

This moment came when a Leith Creative sang, in an alarmingly high pitched voice, an IRN-BRU version of “We’re walking in the air” from ‘The Snowman’.

The idea was perfect for a number of reasons:

· It tied IRN-BRU to a quintessential Christmas moment – watching ‘The Snowman’
· It was typically IRN-BRU in tone – cheeky, humorous and a little bit irreverent
· It had brand desire at the heart of the script – all The Snowman wanted was the boy’s IRN-BRU
· And, it had the scale we were looking for


In advertising terms, the Snowman ad was astonishingly successful. Tracking research suggested the ad had reached the broad audience we’d set out to speak to. Verified awareness reached 83%, on a par with the most popular ad ever aired by IRN-BRU until that point (“Grandad”).

Such was the level of audience engagement that six out of ten of the research respondents described the snowman scenario in detail. There was almost universal agreement that the ad was different, attention grabbing and funny.

Finally, when it came to “stealing” Christmas from Coke, it seemed we’d also made headway there. When questioned about channels of communication, 92% of respondents recalled seeing IRN-BRU advertising on TV – in contrast to 88% of respondents for Coke.

We set out to create an ad that enhanced public affection for IRN-BRU. In the run up to New Year’s Eve in 2007, STV asked viewers to vote for their all-time favourite TV ad.

An astonishing 68% voted for our “Snowman” ad, beating off competition from the classic Hovis ad, the first PG Tips ad, Smash, Hamlet Cigars and the Guinness “Surfer” ad. A fine tribute to Scotland’s affection for the Snowman.

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