T’s out for Rob Bruce

Scotland’s press and media corps are this week deprived of one of the nation’s most respected PR managers.

Rob Bruce, the man who helped put T in the Park on the map, has left the InBev building.

And the company’s media relations will be all the poorer for it.

After eight loyal years, his time is up.

Although The Drum carries an article describing the parting of ways as “entirely amicable”, it doesn’t take a hardened drinker to know that is just double-talk for a falling out of sorts.

Bruce, for his part, is maintaining a dignified silence, a mark of the man and his professionalism.

It is because of him, largely, that Tennent’s Caledonian has had such an easy ride in the papers and broadcast in Scotland.

He fostered relationships, was always on hand with a quote or a promo, and was one of the few who could take a potential PR disaster and turn it into gold.

There must have been dozens of damaging tales swept under the carpet by hacks after being promised a better tale, or being convinced that it “isn’t really a story” by him.

Even when the fit hit the shan on rare occasions, he never bore a grudge, and just worked that little harder to get writers or editors onside for the company.

He was a familiar sight at Balado, kicking about in his three quarter length shorts and shades, chaperoning the First Minister one minute, some rock star the next.

And then the public affairs, trying to convince Ministers that the current strategy on drink could be made better.

So why has it ended?

A little bit of digging shows that parent company InBev has had a few changes in senior personnel of late, co-inciding with changes in Bruce’s old department.

A new broom wanting their own people in place perhaps?

Or maybe, as I suspect, some people just don’t like good, honest advice.

Because he’s the kind of guy that would offer just that.

I hope soon to get a chance to catch up with Rob sometime and raise a glass of anything but Tennent’s or Stella, and not just to get him pissed and ask what really happened.

But to celebrate his achievements while at the company that have included T in the Park, Tryptic, T on the Fringe, and the old Tennent’s Scottish Cup campaign among others.

And to thank him for his help over the years, as I’m sure others will too.

I noticed in a recent Scottish Sun feature an unflattering piece about the customer phone services of Tennent’s, followed by others attacking the launch of its super-strength lager 1885 on the UK market, which made me wonder.

Has an unofficial backlash now started against Tennent’s from those who respect the Bruce?

Only time now will tell.

But I know a lot of people are talking about what has happened, and hope the big guy bounces back as surely he will – and with his head held high.

If he hasn’t had offers yet, then he will surely have soon. In fact, I know he will.

Because he’s got T by the bucketful.

And T, on this occasion, being a big red T for talent.

Categories: Blogs

1 reply

  1. And I see another double whammy for him – not only did an initaitive of his win a prestigious awards at the Marketing Awards on Friday night, but he was also responsible for bringing the Justice Minister Kenny Macaskill to task over his comments about ‘cooking lager’ according to today’s Scotsman and yesterday’s News of the World.

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