The Leith Agency

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A view of The Shore with The Leith Agency in the centre

The Leith Agency is a creative agency that predominantly focuses on advertising but also helps to develop the local creative community. It is particularly known for its advertisements for Scottish soft drink Irn-Bru.[1][2]

The agency is currently based at The Shore in Leith, Edinburgh.


The Leith Agency[3] was founded in St Mary's School House, Leith in 1984, starting life as a traditional advertising agency. It was voted Scotland's top advertising agency in 1993 in a poll for Scotmedia magazine[4] and in 2001 it won the Scottish Institute of Practitioners in Advertising award for most effective campaign for promoting now-defunct radio station Beat 106.[5] It was bought by marketing services group Cello in 2004.[6]

The Leith Agency has created campaigns for global brands such as Honda, Grolsch and SEAT from its offices in the docks of Edinburgh.[7] It promoted Coors Light from 2003 to 2010.[8] Its current work includes notable television adverts such as The Snowman for Irn-Bru and campaigns for legislation including the Scottish smoking ban in public places. The agency has won many effectiveness and creative awards, such as the Grand Prix at the Roses Advertising Awards 2009.[9]

In 2001 it was an investor in online business-to-business off-licence Mustang Interactive.[10]

As part of its community initiatives, it is actively involved in The Leith Festival, runs free clinics for small local businesses and has developed a programme to identify creative excellence in the community - Talentspotting. During The Leith Festival in 2007, the agency unofficially twinned Leith with Rio de Janeiro by placing a sign on Leith Walk.[citation needed]

More recently, the Leith Agency has started Leith Records, a place to showcase new local and Scottish music, and Leith Dock, a blog for interesting and inspirational happenings in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond. In 2010, it staged a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest on a barge in Leith.[11]

In 2012, it launched a breast cancer awareness campaign for the Scottish government featuring Elaine C Smith. It was claimed to be the first UK television ad to feature full-frontal bare breasts.[12] It has also produced campaigns for Health Promotion Agency Northern Ireland.[13]

In 2013 it purchased Newhaven Communications, another advertising agency which had worked for brewer Tennent's and on government campaigns, and which had been formed 11 years previously by former Leith Agency employees.[14][15][16]


  1. ^ "Irn-Bru ad agency sees revenues on the up". The Scotsman. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Dickie, Mure (3 June 2013). "Irn-Bru a ‘New Fella’". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Home | The Leith Agency
  4. ^ "Leith Agency voted top". The Glasgow Herald. 20 May 1993. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Leith Agency’s award success". The Scotsman. 17 May 2001. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Leith Agency is sold off". The Scotsman. 20 October 2004. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "The Leith Agency Limited". 
  8. ^ Williams, Matt (12 October 2010). "VCCP picks up £3 million Coors Light advertising account". Campaign. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Roses Advertising Awards 2009, The Drum, 1 May 2009
  10. ^ "Lastorders founders in internet comeback". The Guardian (UK). 11 May 2001. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Barfly: Leith Agency acts up a storm". The Scotsman. 7 August 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Burgoyne, Patrick (6 September 2012). "Will bareness raise awareness?". Creative Review. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Gorman, Matthew (25 Sep 2007). "The Leith Agency wins 1.5m Health Promotion Agency Northern Ireland ad account". Marketing Week. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Leith Agency and Newhaven Communications merge". The Scotsman. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Pair will leave in Leith and Newhaven merger". The Glasgow Herald. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Swift, James (18 June 2013). "Leith buys Edinburgh rival Newhaven". Campaign. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 

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