Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

From Girders to Glory: Learn about this drink brand’s monumental way to mark a campaign’s milestone! [Thursday: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

January 4, 2024

Miles Everson’s The Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson:

Hello, everyone!

Do you know why I love guerrilla marketing? 

It’s because this marketing strategy is incredibly unique and unconventional, unleashing the maximum creativity of marketers. It consistently provides industry professionals with opportunities to astonish the public, interact with them, and elicit organic reactions.

Today, we’ll delve into another brilliant use of this unconventional strategy.

Keep reading as we share a guerrilla marketing story for this brand’s milestone in a BRIGHT and GIGANTIC manner.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Brands have various ways of celebrating milestones and commemorating past achievements. For instance: In 2021, Walt Disney World Resort celebrated its 50th anniversary through interactive social campaigns. In the same year, Starbucks also marked its 50th anniversary by releasing a short film about the brand’s journey. 

Today, we’ll talk about other clever and creative ways businesses celebrate special moments. 

In particular, we’ll look at how this drink brand celebrated the 30th anniversary of its most iconic advertising campaign from the 1980s in a HUGELY recognizable way.

Photo from: Graphis

Irn Bru, initially introduced under the name “Iron Brew,” is a famous Scottish drink that was first introduced in 1901 by A.G. Barr & Company. This beverage contains quinine (a bitter compound found in tonic drinks) and caffeine (a purine alkaloid found in tea and coffee), and has a historical connection to steelworkers who built the Glasgow Central Station. 

Irn Bru was believed to energize workers, which later inspired its branding. This also played a significant role in the brand’s marketing.

Over the years, fans of Irn Bru have debated the distinct taste of the drink. This debate has become one of the brand’s key selling points and continues to capture people’s attention up to today.

Interestingly, some Irn Bru drinkers claim that it tastes like orange—not the orange fruit, but the orange color.

Huh? What does the color orange even taste like? 

That’s interesting! 

A Glimpse to Irn Bru’s Iconic 1986 Advertising Campaign and its 30th Anniversary in 2016  

The notion that Irn Bru boosted steelworkers’ energy led to the brand’s iconic tagline, “Made in Scotland from Girders,” in 1986. 

In that same year, the brand launched an advertising campaign featuring the said tagline. The campaign focused on the connection of the brand with girders, laying the foundation for the brand’s identity, strength, and authenticity. 

According to Adrian Troy, marketing director of A.G. Barr, Irn Bru wanted to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the “Made in Scotland from Girders” ad campaign in 1986 with a guerrilla marketing effort in 2016 because of how iconic and beloved the ad campaign was. It even won the Best Advertising Strapline of the Last 21 Years Award at the Scottish Advertising Awards in 2007.

Photo from: Double Take Productions 

So, to mark the ad campaign’s 30th anniversary, Irn Bru thought of celebrating that milestone in an “Irn Bru way.”      

What did the marketing team do? 

They commemorated the “Made in Scotland from Girders” campaign by releasing five limited edition commemorative bottle designs and prominently displaying them on the pillars of the Forth Bridge in South Queensferry, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Irn Bru collaborated with Double Take Projections, a visual agency, and Stripe Communications, a public relations agency, to project the bottle artworks onto the bridge pillars and cover the event. Double Take Projections and Irn Bru utilized four projectors with a brightness of 16,000 lumens each, along with a variety of lenses to illuminate the bridge. 

The guerrilla marketing strategy was intentionally carried out at night to create a captivating display at the Forth Bridge’s pillars! The projections began in early January 2016 and lasted for six weeks.

Was Irn Bru’s guerrilla marketing strategy effective? 

The campaign achieved national recognition, which was Irn Bru’s main objective, and generated contents from various publishing channels:

  • The  night projections garnered coverage in several national print newspapers, including The Daily Record, The Sun, Scottish Daily Mail, The Metro, Glasgow Evening Times, and The Edinburgh Evening News. These publications collectively had a circulation of 694,775 copies.
  • Online articles about the campaign were also published on websites such as The Scotsman, The National, and Evening News.
  • Radio stations, including Local Radio Station and Forth One, featured Irn Bru’s night projection story in their morning shows.

Kudos, Irn Bru, Double Take Projections, and Stripe Communications for this captivating display! These media coverages show that the GIANT campaign caught the attention of the press.    


Through the captivating displays at the Forth Bridge’s pillars, Irn Bru achieved a vivid revival of its 1986 ad campaign for the “Made in Scotland from Girders” tagline and reignited people’s memories. The night projections garnered considerable attention, creating a buzz in both online and offline news outlets.

Here are two BIG lessons you can glean from this guerrilla marketing tactic:

  • Trace back to the iconic moments of your brand.

Irn Bru’s “Made in Scotland from Girders” ad campaign in 1986 paved the way for building brand awareness and identity. 

By celebrating the 1986 ad’s 30th anniversary through using an iconic landmark that’s connected to the identity and history of the brand, Irn Bru not only had the chance to commemorate an iconic campaign but also got the attention of the public and its supporters.

  • Leverage multiple media channels.

Irn Bru’s guerrilla marketing strategy made use of multiple media channels, including print, online, and radio, to maximize reach and impact. 

This shows businesses and marketers that leveraging various channels helps a campaign’s message reach a wider and more diverse audience, and increase its chances of success.

We hope today’s feature inspired you to think BIG for your next promotional tactics!

In the world of marketing, guerrilla marketing strategies like what Irn Bru showcased can ignite powerful brand stories and leave an indelible mark. 

Remember: It’s not always about the size of your budget but the depth of your creativity that can captivate the world and make your brand unforgettable. 

So, embrace the unconventional, be fearless, and watch your brand’s iconic moments come to life with your out-of-the-box ideas and strategies!

See you next week for another awesome guerrilla marketing topic! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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