Agencies to contest £3m AG Barr media business

AG Barr, the Scottish-based drinks manufacturer behind brands such as Irn-Bru, Tizer and Orangina, has become the latest client to decide to review its media business out of Mediaedge:cia.

It has notified the AAR to draw up a shortlist of agencies to pitch for the £3 million business and it is understood that Mediaedge:cia has not been invited to repitch.

In September, the company released slightly improved sales figures for the first six months of this year. Profits, however, were disappointing and rose only £500,000 to £6.2 million, possibly a reflection of the bad weather in the three key sales months of May, June and July.

Traditionally, AG Barr's brands generate the strongest sales in Scotland, where Irn-Bru is the largest-selling carbonated drink. However, sales of the drink in England and Wales increased by 22 per cent during the first half of the year. The company attributed this to marketing activity, cosisting of The Leith Agency's TV and poster work, starting earlier than in previous years.

Irn-Bru's most famous advertising featured the strapline: "Made in Scotland from girders." Recent campaigns have attempted to live up to this humorous approach.

In August, the ASA investigated complaints from Edinburgh goths following an ad which told them to "cheer up". The goths claimed that they had been targeted by youths throwing cans of the soft drink at them.

Mediaedge:cia has faced a flurry of reviews since it was formed at the beginning of the year. Last month it lost the £30 million pan-European Gap account and it is currently defending its Wyeth pharmaceuticals and British Sugar accounts.

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