The £1m ‘Bru’s Your Clan’ campaign, which saw the production of more than 7m labels, was launched to coincide with last month’s Burns Night.
It saw 2-litre and 500ml varieties of the drink become available in limited edition packs displaying 57 clan tartan designs that covered the top 100 most common Scottish surnames.
The quantities to be produced of each surname were determined by research carried out by AG Barr and were dependant on the prevalence of the surname and the tartan. An orange and blue Irn-Bru tartan was also created for customers that didn’t have their own clan name.
“The Scottish names fall into clans, so not all of those names have their own tartan. So although there are 100 names there aren't 100 different tartans,” said Amberley Labels’ technical director Richard Geller.
“Digital printing allowed Amberley to use different elements of the client's original artwork as variable data, removing the need to create 500-plus individual pieces of artwork."
Amberley Labels took the Irn-Bru artwork, put it through repro and carried out the personalisation work using Esko Graphics pre-press software. It then printed the labels onto reels of unsupported polypropylene film (which was supplied by Enniskillen-based Americk Webtech) using its HP Indigo WS6600 digital press.
Americk Webtech then took the printed reels, slit out any waste and then applied varnish to the material to ensure that bottle production could take place at optimum speed once the labels arrived at AG Barr.
Geller said the logistics of handling a job this major proved to be the biggest challenge for Amberley Labels. “Digital is used to producing a few hundred metres. For jobs like this with tens of thousands of metres it’s about handling the sheer volumes of everything, moving it round your factory and running your press for that amount of time, six days a week for two weeks, flat out for 24 hours a day.”
Americk Webtech technical manager Paul Morris added: “The quality of the print was perfect and everyone at AG Barr seemed to be very happy with it.”
Blandford-based Amberley Labels has more than 60 staff and a turnover of £6m. Its customers include a number of well-known blue chip companies from the cosmetics, personal care, healthcare, beverage and specialist food markets.