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How IRN-BRU became gold winners at this year's Cannes Lions

How IRN-BRU became gold winners at this year's Cannes Lions

This campaign won IRN-BRU a gold prize at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival, which you can read more about here.


Scottish soft drink IRN-BRU faced two challenges in 2010 as football fever spread across the globe. Huge multi-national rivals had a major focus on the World Cup and deep pockets and Scotland - IRN-BRU’s key market – hadn’t qualified for the tournament.


The aim was to drive sales and engagement with the brand on a budget of just £150,000 for all communications disciplines. IRN-BRU, who together with PHD London, aimed to fuel Scottish optimism by turning to the most successful national football team of all time. The idea was to recruit Brazilians to mate with Scots to create BRU-zilian’s - footballers who can make Scotland World champions in 2034.


PHD London launched a campaign scanning continents. In Brazil IRN-BRU bought beach-side billboards and ‘lonely hearts’ ads in local newspapers encouraging Brazilians to help the cause. These were unveiled on a press tour to Rio, accompanied by an aeroplane banner saying “Hello Brazil, let us unite to help Scotland have a magical football team” pulled across the skies above Copacabana beach.

PHD London saw that the Scotland PR was further leveraged by Scottish footballing legend Archie Gemmill holding a campaign launch press conference. Viral videos were released online and promoted through the IRN-BRU Twitter feed and Facebook groups. These were accompanied by the ‘BRU-zil name generator’ which suggested names for fans’ BRU-zilian children. Finally, a TV ad showcasing the Scotland/BRU-zilian team for 2034 ran in perfectly-targeted World Cup programming – including the centre break of the World Cup final itself – giving the opportunity for fans to think “this could be us in 2034!”


On a budget of just £150,000 (Coke spent £3.4m in the same period) YOY sales volume in Scotland increased 8%, whilst the flavoured carbs sector decreased 1%. achieved 40% of its annual traffic in one month. The BRU-zilian name generator created more than 700,000 names with users visiting for an average of >5 minutes (as a comparison, Twitter in the UK averages 3.5 mins per visit)

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