Irn-Bru Snowman

10 – Irn-Bru Snowman advert

December 2, 2006

MADE in Scotland, from girders.

Your other national drink.

Advertising slogans don’t get better.

Irn-Bru is as much a part of the Scottish way of life as tattie scones and Hogmanay.

Coca-Cola is the best-selling drink worldwide – but in Scotland, it has to share that honour with Irn-Bru. The two are almost neck and neck in sales.

Even the rest of the UK has cottoned on to the genius of Irn-Bru, and it is now the third best-selling soft drink in Britain.

Those clever adverts have taken Irn-Bru from fizzy drink to national treasure status.

The launch of the Christmas advert in 2006, featuring Irn-Bru’s version of festive classic

The Snowman, helped make the ads a real talking point.

It took a classic animation – The Snowman by Raymond Briggs – and gave it a great big dollop of Scottish humour. When the snowman dropped the hand of the boy he was flying with so he could get his Irn-Bru, it set a trend for must-see, impossible-to-ignore Irn-Bru adverts.

Some of them have been a bit too near the knuckle. One, featuring a cow saying: “When I’m a burger I want to be washed down with Irn-Bru” drew more than 700 complaints.

They’ve been accused of being anti-English, encouraging bullying, sexist, offensive, demeaning, inappropriate for children and just plain childish.

But they’re mainly unforgettable.

AG Barr, which makes Irn-Bru, says only three people know the recipe for our favourite fizz. Former company chairman Robin Barr once claimed that when just one other person knew the recipe besides himself, they never flew in the same aeroplane – just in case.

Celebrities aren’t immune to its charms either.

When Andy Murray won the US Open in 2012, he celebrated with a bottle of our other national drink.

Sir Sean Connery opted for a crate of Irn-Bru when choosing a Scottish icon.

In 1975, Billy Connolly wrote a song about Mr and Mrs Barr “for saving my life on so many Sunday mornings”.

He’s not the only one who believes a hearty swig of Irn-Bru is the ultimate hangover cure.

Along with a fry-up, it’s helped to ease the after-effects of one too many too many times to count!

Irn-Bru is a firm favourite (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)


Barr announced earlier this year that it was to end 110 years of bottle returns. Generations of children had boosted sweetie money by collecting as many ‘empties’ as they could and returning them to shops for a payment.

Today’s kids just aren’t impressed by the going rate of 30p a bottle.

Maybe it says a lot about our humour that we could love a commerical brand so much, risque adverts included.

So much so that in 2007 the Edinburgh Festival showed a film featuring all the ads. Irn-Bru: Phenomenal Ads included some banned ones.

It was a sell-out.