UK: AG Barr defends ad after "anti-English" complaints

By | 10 April 2013

Barr says its ads are "cheeky"

Barr says its ads are "cheeky"

AG Barr has defended its latest Irn Bru ad after dozens of viewers claimed it is "anti-English". 

A total of 68 people have complained about the “New Fella” spot, which can be viewed below, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) told just-drinks today (10 April). Most of the complaints said the 40-second ad “encouraged racial prejudices” and was “anti-English”, the ASA said.

However, a spokesperson for Barr, which is based outside Glasgow, said the firm had not set out to cause offence.

“Our advertising is well known for its cheeky sense of humour and this ad is no different," the spokesperson added. "We do not believe it to be racist or anti-English in anyway and indeed the positive feedback from almost everyone who has contacted us about the advert would support this.”

Not all of the complaints said the ad was anti-English. According to ASA two people complained the ad was anti-Scottish.

The ad, which is only being aired in Scotland, was launched three weeks ago, the spokesperson said. It is scheduled to run for another three weeks.

Barr's shareholders this year agreed a merger with Britvic, however the deal has been delayed following after it was referred to the UK's Competition Commission by the Office of Fair Trading. 

Expert analysis

Carbonated Soft Drinks in the United Kingdom

Carbonated Soft Drinks in the United Kingdom industry profile provides top-line qualitative and quantitative summary information including: market size (value 2007-11, and forecast to 2016). The profile also contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the market. Essential resource for top-line data and analysis covering the United Kingdom carbonated soft drinks market. Includes market size data, textual and graphical analysis of market growth trends, leading companies and macroeconomic information.

Sectors: Marketing – advertising & promotions, Soft drinks

Companies: AG Barr, Britvic

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