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AG Barr’s Irn Bru is looking to build upon its cheeky legacy with a risqué ad that urges drinkers not to be a “can’t”.

The 40-second spot launched on STV over the weekend, and appears to make a brave play on the c-word. It echoes the brand's infamous 'Fanny' ads which provoked a string of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). 

The ad, dubbed 'Parents', shows a young man called Dave meeting his girlfriend's family. An unhappy father-in-law is shown asking him: “when are you going to marry my daughter?”.

Dave asks to leave before exclaiming: “Don’t be a can’t, you need a can.” He and his girlfriend then escape to a foam party where they find they have been accompanied by her mum and the family dog Eric.

The ad is reminiscent of an an old BBC Scotland Chewin' The Fat sketch, but it is not Irn Bru’s first excursion into the mischievous.

The Cumbernauld-based brand, a long time partner of the Leith agency, turned heads in 2012 after running a commercial where a newborn baby was named Fanny. Much like the call to action in 'Parents', an irked man cracks open a can, proving that 'Irn Bru Gets You Through'.


There was also an ad in 2013 that saw 67 complaints issued to the ASA for anti-English sentiment. The same year, Irn Bru's Push Up Bra was one of the most complained about ads.

The new creative draws attention to the brand's new lower sugar blend, which was launched to circumvent losses that would have been propagated by the sugar tax.

The Drum did the taste test with staff from Scotland - and beyond - to see if consumers could tell which was the lower sugar concoction.

Vote for 'Parents' in The Drum's Creative Works below.

The Leith Agency: IRN-BRU 'Parents'

Agency: The Leith Agency
Client: IRN-BRU
Date: February 2018
Irn Bru makes a play on the c-word in a new ad called Parents.
Tags: UK