The distinguished members of TATTGOC sure do love their curry, as evidenced by their now-outdated title of Curry Lovers Of The Year 2010. But their ongoing quest for spicy satisfaction isn't merely limited to TATTGOC's regular excursions to some of Glasgow's hidden-gem curryhouses. If they happen across almost any curry-related foodstuff, Trampy and The Tramp feel compelled to take it for a spin – and thus was born the irregular feature Tastin' With The Tramps. What spicy product is in the hot seat this time? Why, it's only headline-grabbin' new national-treasure softie variant, Fiery Irn-Bru! Pew-pew!
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The Product: After refocusing their product line by rebranding Diet Irn-Bru as Irn-Bru Sugar Free earlier this year – in a £2m campaign that kicked off on February 14 – carbonated powerhouse AG Barr recently launched a new edition of Scotland's favourite orange fizz. Perhaps realising that chiller cabinets across the country have swollen with advancing ginger beer brands, Barr's have produced a limited-edition (the street-dubbed Firun Bru will be available for just 10 weeks) variant of their flagship brand. Even though they actually already do a very nice cloudy ginger beer in bottles, likes.
The Pitch: Fiery Irn-Bru seems to be going down the route of a classic "dare" strategy: can you take the heat? Working with long-time marketing partners The Leith Agency, this boils down to a two-pronged approach. First up is widespread display advertising that makes it look as if vehement, potentially hilarious swearwords have been yanked out of posters in the "Watch Your Mouth" campaign. There's also a fairly decent stab at viral marketing with this entertaining YouTube clip featuring old dudes pretend-cussin'. Which sorta reminded us of an amusing sequence in the original Austin Pa ...
The Packaging: ... Ours. Yeah, ours happened to be bottles but you can get Fiery Irn-Bru in original cans as well. They seem to have gone down the Bombay Bad Boy route of classic black livery, with the iconic Barr running man logo framed in a warning diamond that hopefully intimates "DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE" rather than "CLEANING IN PROGRESS". The Tramp particularly liked the cap detail on the bottle, identifying the presumably volatile contents with a silver "fiery" label.
The Process: The Tramps originally planned to sample Fiery Irn-Bru in some vintage china for comedic effect, but were concerned that the unknown liquid might damage these heirlooms in some way. So they opted for hardy espresso cups. Instead of tasting the crazy juice alongside actual curry, they opted for some spicy potato twirls. (Although later that evening they did enjoy a fantastic mixed grill and mushroom keema from Cafe Serena, both delicious and the perfect accompaniment to re-watching Predator 2.) But to business: how did the whole tasting go down?
Trampy says: "I'm always a little wary when marketing tries to appeal to masculinity, but I admit I immediately wanted to test myself to see if I could take Fiery Irn-Bru. I think it still tastes like Irn-Bru, just with a persistent, nettley aftertaste. I was actually impressed at how long the heat stuck around, compared to most fizzy drinks, but while that was notable, it wasn't exactly enjoyable. I do love the fact that Irn-Bru has become so synonymous with Scotland, and the advertising is always pretty fantastic, so I'm happy to reinforce the myth that Scots are so hard they need a fizzy drink that will strip the enamel off their teeth. I sorta wish they'd done an ad campaign where they use Fiery Irn-Bru to dissolve paint off the Forth Rail Bridge but maybe that's not in keeping with brand values ..."
The Tramp says: "I first heard about Fiery Irn-Bru when I saw the viral video, which I thought was pretty funny. I'm a ginger beer fan, and I like my ginger beer fiery. A lot of people seemed to be saying online that they thought Fiery Irn-Bru was disgusting, and I wondered if that was because they were Irn-Bru fans rather than ginger beer fans. Because without being told what it was like, I imagined it being ginger-based. It's certainly got the same mouthfeel as fiery ginger beer. As for the actual tasting, I quite like it ... but I'd like to see what it was like as a mixer. The heat does last for quite a long time. But I don't think it would be a good drink alongside curry. I'd rather have beer, ice water or a nice lassi. So I give it a half-cocked thumb-up ... not the full two thumbs up."
The Verdict: Fiery, volatile, caustic ... but enough about the Tramps, whit about the Bru? The consensus seemed to be that while it was a canny bit of brand extension, successfully frontin' to any encroaching ginger beers, this incarnation of Irn-Bru was probably too prickly and sickly to stick around on shelves longer than the 10-week gimmick period. And surely Barr missed a product-placement trick since Burnistoun makes its debut on the national network tonight? For what better pairing than Burnistoun and summat that might burn his tongue? Oaft!
Do you have a curry-related foodstuff you're launching into the crowded modern marketplace where a recommendation from appropriate enthusiasts might help? If so, drop us an introductory line at firstname.lastname@example.org and see YOUR product featured on the legendary ... Tastin' With The Tramps! Booyah!
PREVIOUSLY CONSUMED ON TASTIN' WITH THE TRAMPS
Mongoose, Aboot The Hoose!
Waitrose Hot And Fiery Salad!
The Pot Noodle GTi!
Mr Singh's Curry Pies!
The Pot Noodle Fightback!
Mr Singh's Punjabi Chilli Sauce!
McCoy's Vs Golden Wonder!
The Nation's Noodle!
Mr Singh's Bangras!