When talking to students about radio, I’m fond of drawing some kind of analogy with another industry or with something they might be familiar with from their own daily lives. So, for a time, I used to turn up in lecture rooms with a miniature shopping basket containing cans of fizzy drinks. I don’t remember my exact spiel, but I think I was trying to illustrate how competitors to Coca Cola – the market leader – tried to find a point of difference with their biggest rival. For Pepsi it was about the taste and how their ‘Pepsi Challenge’ proved that their sticky dark stuff was much more delicious than The Real Thing. The Dr Pepper slogan – ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ was trying to associate their drink with the idea of unconformity. Irn Bru, I said, was orange, Scottish and cheeky.
I’m sure, in the context of discussing how radio stations position themselves in the market, this all made sense at the time but that’s not important right now. What’s amazing is that sixteen years later, I found these four cans in the attic- all intact, unopened and (presumably) full of fizz. And you amber guzzlers out there know what that means. Yes, I have in my possession a full can of original recipe, full sugar, Barr’s Irn Bru. Rumours have it that this stuff is going for a pretty penny on e-bay. This particular can has a sell-by date of March 2005. It’s vintage, I tell you, vintage.
Meanwhile the Pepsi can has a free VIP ticket promotion for a Ms Dynamite concert with the 50,000 runners-up winning a Ms Dynamite ringtone. The closing date is listed as 1st October 2003. Whatever became of Ms Dynamite? And are ringtones still a thing?