A Word From Our Sponsors… Tennent’s Lager: Caledonia


I started this classic adverts feature with a selection of the best commercials for McEwan’s Lager, so it’s only fitting that at some point we have a look at their rivals Tennent’s, Scotland’s biggest lager brand.

This choice is more personal than most, so to give you some background to the advert, which dates from around 1991, the Choob is from Glasgow and my first job (which I started in 1990), was as a computer programmer in Reading, Berkshire, in the south of England.

Fresh out of university, I soon realised the job I was doing wasn’t for me and I can’t say I was a big fan of Reading.

So I was soon feeling increasingly homesick and sorry for myself… and then Tennent’s started broadcasting this advert, which managed the rare trick of making me feel both better and worse.

The song is Caledonia, sung by the influential, though not particularly commercially successful, Glaswegian singer-songwriter Frankie Miller. It’s a cover version of a song written by Dougie MacLean.

Languishing in my miserable exile in Reading, the advert (and the song) made me feel even worse about my predicament as it summed up my feelings of displacement and despair – yet also gave me hope and optimism for the future that things can be changed for the better.

And change for the better they did – I wasn’t brave enough to chuck my briefcase in the bin and leave my job but the company I worked for (ICL) made the decision for me when I was made redundant after two years, during a cull of our part of the company.

I returned to Scotland and was lucky enough to manage to make the switch to the career that I had always dreamed of when I was at school (journalism).

But before that happened, I revelled in my misery in Reading. I bought Frankie Miller‘s Caledonia single and I’m sure I must have driven my four (English) housemates mad by repeatedly blasting it out of the stereo in my room. Sorry about that…

And so, to conclude this week’s Message From Our Sponsors, here is the music video for the full version of Miller’s version of Caledonia:

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