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Scotland’s Top Lager Tennent’s Back With Big Brand Campaigns

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For decades, beer brand Tennent’s, soft drink Irn-Bru and the country’s government were the biggest advertisers in Scotland. But in recent years, government regulation, consumer taste and marketing strategy changed all that.

Tennent’s bright red T was as familiar a brand emblem as the golden arches of McDonald’s. It had long-running ad campaigns, including the celebrated “Caledonia” spot from 1990. The last major series of ads featured stories of founder Hugh Tennent (played by Outlander star Sam Heughan), which ran until 2017.

But a new campaign, “Oooft,” will use humor to keep the brand on the map, in Scotland and in the more than 60 other territories where it’s sold. (Urban Dictionary defines “ooft” as “when one is impressed by something,” so add one more O and you’ve really got something.)

“We’re looking to a return to large-scale form,” said Paul Menzies, brand and marketing director for beer of Tennent’s owner C&C. He has a high degree of confidence that references to “Oooft” will enter Scotland’s lexicon when the spots begin airing.

From creative agency John Doe, the campaign is part of a new brand platform “Raised in Scotland,” one of three potential platforms tested in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England.

If you’re not from Scotland, it’s difficult to appreciate the significance of Tennent’s as a brand, culturally and creatively.

Pam Scobbie, co-CCO, John Doe

“There’s that lovely duality,” said Menzies. “As a brand, we are raised in Scotland and we are all for engaging, investing and working with our community—being Scotland. But then there is also the practical raising of pints around our country, which we have had for an awful long time.”

The 30-second TV campaign sees Scots reacting to different unexpected moments, such as the reveal of a bad haircut, a hard rugby tackle and, of course, a taste of a pint of Tennent’s with the response “Oooft.” Playing over is Scotland’s own singing star Lulu’s classic ’60s track “Shout.” The ad also features a brief cameo from Scottish soccer legend James McFadden.

Running on Scottish screens, the ad will also target parts of Northern Ireland through social media activity.

The TV campaign is accompanied by outdoor creative, featuring photography of the lager in a glass and a can, with the bubbles spelling out “Ooof” and the word ending with the brand’s red T.

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