December 31, 1999

Royal Mile March a Sponsored Spectacle

Some 1200 pipers and drummers turned out on the evening of December 30 at the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, to take part in a publicity stunt for tourists put on by Dewar’s whisky.

The throng of kilted musicians played from Edinburgh Castle to Hollyrood Palace as the famed Edinburgh thoroughfare was lined with camera-toting tourists. The High Street was festooned with Dewar’s banners, and company officials helped to organize the event.

To help attract band members, the sponsoring company offered £25 to each participating musician, and offered a “beverage” at Edinburgh University’s Pollock Halls after the march.

One piper described the event as “a hoot, man,” and clearly most of the 1200 pipers and drummers enjoyed themselves, even though they were clearly pitchmen and women for Dewar’s for a short time.

Confirmed reports state that Dewar’s company officials initially insisted that bands sponsored by rival distillers or brands cover up any sign of their affiliation before they could take part. These initial requests were quickly met with derision, and Dewar’s officials eventually gave in.


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