AG Barr’s game plan to boost image and sales

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

AG Barr is a sponsor for the Commonwealth Games
AG Barr is a sponsor for the Commonwealth Games

Related tags: Ag barr, United kingdom

Irn-Bru beverage manufacturer AG Barr is looking to this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to provide a boost to its image and sales, on a par with that achieved by Coca-Cola at the 2012 UK Olympics in London.

According to AG Barr, which is one of the main sponsors of the Commonwealth Games, the soft drinks category saw retail sales rise by 10% during the London Olympics and the company is hoping the same will happen during the Glagow games, which take place from July 23 until August 3. It is spending a record £12M on marketing in the run-up to the games in an attempt to reach an expected UK TV audience of 42M over the 11day event.

Coca-Cola, which has sponsored every Olympic Games since 1928, also used the 2012 event to raise its profile and boost sales.

Promote healthy lifestyles

Such events are important for companies in the sector, said Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drink Association. “The sponsorship by soft drinks companies of sporting events enables them to promote the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyles and should be welcomed,”​ he said.

However, AG Barr’s commercial director Jonathan Kemp said the Commonwealth Games were only part of its growth strategy. “I wouldn’t see the games as the one particular event that we would need to increase capacity,” he said. "It’s part of the strong growth over the last few years. We want to grow the business and we would expect the games to help."

While not disclosing details of how the company was gearing up to meet any increase in demand for its Irn-Bru, Strathmore water, Barr Cola and Rubicon brands, Kemp implied that plans were in place to ensure sufficient products would be available to meet demand. Some temporary promotional jobs would also be created over the next few months, he added.

“We have recently built a new factory in Milton Keynes and we have put a new can line in there, which has been producing for six months,”​ said Kemp.

Billions of people

“Around the world there will be billions of people watching the games and that’s a great opportunity to showcase our brands through media.”

Meanwhile, AG Barr revealed a 6.1% annual sales growth to £252M last month. The news was well received by City analysts who predicted the company could double its size in the coming year.

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