No-nonsense from ScotCo

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John Smith's has removed the word "bitter" from its relaunched pumpclip.Brand owner Scottish Courage announced the move as part of a £19million...

John Smith's has removed the word "bitter" from its relaunched pumpclip.

Brand owner Scottish Courage announced the move as part of a £19million brand investment programme which will see new television advertising.

Brands director Stuart Catchpole said: "Our customers know John Smith's is a bitter. There is no need to keep reminding them."

He denied the removal of the "bitter" tag was an attempt to distance the brand from the declining ale sector. "These navel-gazing definitions, with which the industry is obsessed, mean jack to the average drinker. They are asking for brands these days, not styles of drink."

John Smith's Extra Smooth will get even smoother in the relaunch. Trials began in selected outlets in January and the company says it received not one complaint after three million pints were sold.

The first of the new television adverts will go out during the England vs Portugal Euro 2000 clash on June 12.Jack Dee has been replaced by the cardboard cut-out No-Nonsense Man, who is seen in a series of exotic locations.

A new double-headed font allows busy outlets to dispense two pints at the same time.

The real ale version of the brand will be marked Cask on handpulls. "It's a badge of quality," said Catchpole. It will get its own television commercials in the early autumn.

The campaign builds on annual sales increases of between five and 15 per cent over the last five years against the backdrop of a declining ale sector.Catchpole said John Smith's could do nothing to lift the rest of the sector.

"There are successful brands and then there are the others," he said. "We will be doing what we can for our brands." But he pointed out that the decline in ale sales had been reversed in the off-trade in the last four months and was slowing in pubs.

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