Video: Remembering Fiery Irn-Bru and one of our favourite banned ads

In 2011, Irn-Bru tried something a little different with the launch of its first limited edition variant, Fiery Irn-Bru.

Published 18th Oct 2018
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

And in true Barr's style, the makers decided the push the boat out when it came to marketing their newest drink.

Masters of understanding that a little bit of Scottish humour (and just a dash of controversy) is always good for exposure, the soft drinks producer created an ad that was as fiery as the drink it promoted.

• READ MORE: A brief history of Irn-Bru’s most controversial adverts

Featuring a cast of sweet old ladies and some clever use of editing, they created a piece of advertising that lasted far longer than the drink it promoted.

Titled "Ooh ya ars..." and with the tagline "Lock up your grannies, Fiery Irn-Bru is back", the ad followed an ostentatious launch in Glasgow's George Square featuring an ominous soundtrack, former AG Barr chairman Robin Barr, several strange looking people dressed in black morph suits and a fiery oven.

Fiery Irn-Bru

At the time of the release, Mr Barr, said:  "We're incredible excited to see what Scotland makes of our fiery new drink. Over the years, Irn-Bru has become something of a national icon, so we expect it will spark a lot of interest."

The spicier limited edition version of Irn-Bru was released for 10 weeks in September 2011 with two secret hot ingredients added to the original recipe. Some speculate that these were chilli and ginger.

And it wasn't just the women who got in on the act...

Reports at the time suggested that the advert was banned as it went against advertising regulations.

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As usual for Irn-Bru, the ads went down a storm and continue to be some of our favourites, perfectly summing up that humour that Scots are well known for.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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