Top stunt award is no small beer for Borders PR company

Sunny pint. Artisan PR award.
Sunny pint. Artisan PR award.

A PINT-GLASS shaped crop circle in a barley field between Ancrum and Lanton has won its creators – Lauder based public relations firm Artisan – a major industry award.

For at a glittering ceremony in Edinburgh at the weekend, the promotion was named Best PR Stunt at the Scottish Creative Awards.

In winning the prestigious accolade, the company beat off stiff opposition from, among others, Scottish Television, which trailed a new series of the cop show Taggart by placing scene-of-crime tape around an entire building in Glasgow.

The crop circle stunt was used to promote this year’s launch, by the Scottish Borders Brewery, of four new real ales – Foxy Blond, Game Bird, Holy Cow and Dark Horse.

“We wanted to stress the plough-to-pint credentials of the brewery, but never thought for a minute we would be shortlisted for this award, let alone win it,” said Artisan co-founder Yvonne Bruce who attended the ceremony in Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange along with brewery boss John Henderson.

The awards were formerly known as the Scottish Advertising Awards but were rebranded to include PR firms and the design and digital sectors, as well as advertising agencies.

“It’s wonderful to bring back another national award to the Borders, especially in a new category against such formidable opposition,” said Yvonne.

“It was David against Goliath and we’re thrilled David came out on top”, she said.

Yvonne and co-founder Karen Finlay were colleagues with an large Edinburgh PR agency when, 12 years ago, they decided to go it alone, setting up in Stow and moving to their present offices in Lauder in 2005.

The firm is no stranger to industry acclaim, having won a series of awards from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), including the outstanding small UK consultancy in 2008 and the best non-for profit campaign in 2009.

And Artisan has several household-name clients, including the Glenfiddich distillery, Baxter’s Retail, OVD rum, the National Museum of Scotland and the Gretna Gateway outlet village. Closer to home, the firm handles PR for the Abbotsford Trust.

It was the first time Artisan had entered the Scottish Creative Awards, run by Drum, Scotland’s leading trade magazine for the creative industries.

Mr Henderson, whose brewery is at his Chesters House home near Ancrum, told us: “I’m delighted for ourselves and for Artisan. We believe we have a great product and Artisan has done a magnificent job in promoting it. This fully justifies our policy of using local suppliers and talent.”

The brewery campaign appears to have paid off with the real ales now available in 160 pubs in south east Scotland, including the Cross Keys in Ancrum, Burts in Melrose, the Buccleuch Arms in St Boswells and the Salmon Inn in Galashiels.