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T IN THE LARK; EXCLUSIVE Brewer has fun with World Cup flag gags.

Byline: GRAHAM TIBBETTS

A CHEEKY World Cup ad campaign is to put a smile back on the faces of the glum Tartan Army.

While English fans are cheering on their team this summer, stuck-at-home Scots can roar on their opponents with the help of some cheeky flags.

As every sports lover knows, the Tartan Army faithful only follow two teams - Scotland and whoever plays against the Auld Enemy.

And in the opening games of the glittering tournament in June that means Argentina, Nigeria and Sweden.

Wise-cracking bosses at Glasgow brewers Tennents decided to give Scotland fans a much-needed lift by latching on to our new international amigos for a promotional push.

They commissioned a pounds 100,000 ad campaign using the flags of the three countries - each with a gag across the front.

For the Argentina game the message is "C'mon the Tartan Argie".

Against Nigeria, whose star striker is Arsenal forward Kanu, the slogan reads "Och aye Kanu".

And when England take on Sweden - spearheaded by Celtic striker Henrik Larsson - Scots will be urged to back imported manager Sven Goran Eriksson's countrymen.

The designs will be posted on billboards across Scotland in the countdown to the World Cup in Japan and Korea.

Tennents also plan to produce them as flags for any Scots fans eager to display their new allegiance.

Rob Bruce, communications manager for Tennents, said: "Like most Scots we are gutted about not being at the World Cup so we developed a campaign designed to entertain Scottish football fans.

"It's about laughing at ourselves as well as being a light-hearted dig at our major footballing rival."

The flags were designed by the Leith Agency in Edinburgh, responsible for controversial Irn-Bru adverts such as the cow pictured alongside the caption "When I'm a burger I want to be washed down with Irn-Bru."

A fourth flag shows the Saltire with the internet address www.notattheworldcup.com, which is soon to be launched by Tennents with more gags to keep Scots happy.

The campaign was due to be launched in a couple of weeks time but the designs were leaked a couple of days ago - not long after Argentine hatchet-man Pedro Aldo Duscher crocked David Beckham.

Rob admitted the timing was bad but insisted the flags were not intended as another blow to the England camp.

He said they were going down well with football fans.

Rob said: "They are now doing the rounds by email.

"The response has been amazing - everybody loves them.

"We have a website which hasn't even been launched yet and already it's had hundreds of hits. Once it is up and running we're sure it'll keep fans amused during the dark days of June."

The flag campaign won't run in England, but Tennents are confident their fans will see the funny side.

Rob said: "Traditionally, the rivalry between the two countries has been generally good-natured and we hope these designs are in keeping with that."

CAPTION(S):

NEW AMIGOS: Our South American friends join the Tartan Army; KANU BELIEVE IT: African aces Nigeria are now adopted Scots; SWEDEANDSOUR:England'snew managerSvenisSwedish; A NET LOSS: The internet site on the Scotland flag says it all; ADOPTED SCOT: Larsson; BAD TIMING: Pedro Duscher
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 13, 2002
Words:535
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