VEGETABLE producer Albert Bartlett has called in Princess Merida from Brave, Disney’s latest cartoon heroine, to help relaunch the oldest brand in its stable.
When Albert Bartlett began boiling beetroots in an old tin bathtub in 1948, he chose to sell them to his fellow shipyard workers on the Clyde under the name Scotty Brand.
Now the label – and an accompanying black West Highland terrier mascot – is back and is being used to market a range of produce, from carrots and potatoes through to raspberries and strawberries.
A £1.5 million television advertising campaign will be launched in the summer, and characters from Brave, which will have its European premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, will feature on promotional packs of fruit and veg.
The deal for Brave – which is set in Scotland and features the voice of Kelly Macdonald – follows a similar promotion involving Bartlett’s Roosters potato brand and Disney’s Toy Story 3.
Airdrie-based Bartlett, which supplies one in five of the UK’s potatoes, has hired managing director Paul McLaughlin – former chief executive of trade body Scotland Food & Drink – to lead the expansion of the brand throughout the UK.
McLaughlin has ambitious plans to extend the label from fruit and vegetables into beef, jam, oatcakes, salmon and other Scottish products.
He said: “Joining Scotty Brand gave me the chance to practise what I was preaching at Scotland Food & Drink. I developed a strategy that said Scottish products should concentrate on promoting their health benefits, the place they occupy at the premium end of the market and their provenance – where they came from and who made them.”
Carrots, potatoes and prepared vegetables from Scotty Brand are already on sale in Scottish branches of Asda, while Morrisons is offering the carrots and potatoes, and the Co-op and Tesco are stocking just the potatoes.
Asda is also selling the potatoes south of the Border and will start stocking the raspberries and strawberries once they come into season.
Suppliers already signed up to sell products under Scotty Brand include Fife-based vegetable grower Kettle Produce, Aberdeenshire carrot king Philip Benzie and Perthshire-based Bruce Farms. In the long term, McLaughlin wants Scotty Brand’s turnover to surpass the £50 million of sales brought into the Albert Bartlett Group by its Rooster-branded potatoes. He said Rooster had taken ten years to build up that level of sales.
He said: “Scotty Brand hasn’t yet completed its first year of trading as an Albert Bartlett subsidiary but already it’s being ranked as one of the top 100 food and drink companies in Scotland in terms of sales.”
He said the firm will “take a different tack” with its Scotty Brand promotions to the Rooster ads starring Desperate Housewives’ Marcia Cross.