In visual terms, it's a feast for the eyes.
The wild beauty of the mythical Scottish Highlands, where Disney Pixar's new cartoon blockbuster, Brave, is set, has been described as "lush, velvety, moss-green" and "lovingly rendered". With the film screening in 72 countries, VisitScotland hopes it will interest a whole new generation in Scotland, and has invested £7 million in its biggest promotional campaign yet, with a potential tourism boost to the Scottish economy of at least £140m.
But Brave has also triggered a culinary feast which is far from mythical. The food industry has been working with the national tourism agency to exploit the renewed image of Scotland as a land of food and drink. In early June, 150 national and international journalists were invited to travel to Dunkeld by train with picnic baskets containing sandwiches made with Aberdeen Angus beef, Scottish smoked salmon and products by Stoats porridge bars, Mackie's ice-cream and potato crisps and Get Juiced drinks. They had Scottish canapes at the Hilton hotel, as well as Cochrane Cottage gourmet marshmallows and Highland Chocolatier products. Then, at the LA premiere on June 18, 1400 after-party guests sampled Mull of Kintyre cheddar, Belhaven ale, Mackays jams and marmalades, and Walkers oatcakes.
Craig Ferguson, who provides the voice of Lord Macintosh in Brave, made the traditional presentation of haggis, supplied by McKean's, the Glasgow-based distributor to the US.
Sophie Fraser of Scotland Food & Drink says: "We have been delighted to work with VisitScotland and Disney on opportunities around Brave to showcase Scottish produce, further building Scotland's reputation for having a fantastic natural larder, of which we are so proud."
The film has also helped to raise domestic consumer awareness of Scottish growers and their produce. Scotty Brand, one of the country's newest independent food producers, based at Bellshill, has seen "phenomenal" growth through its tie-in with Brave.
Last week, the company launched its first nationwide television advertisement to raise awareness of its products, which include new-season raspberries from Geoff Bruce in Perthshire, now on sale in Asda stores across the UK, while new-season carrots from Philip Benzie in Aberdeenshire will be launched in Morrisons and Asda in Scotland before going UK-wide later in the season. New Ayrshire potatoes from Girvan Early Growers will be sold in Asda, Tesco and Morrisons in Scotland before rolling southwards later in the season, and three types of lettuce grown in Fife are being marketed in Asda's Scottish stores.
The products are all new to Scotty Brand. Although Scottish products are not actually featured in Brave (bar haggis and bears fishing for salmon), it's the promotional tie-in that ensures a high profile for them through association. Every pack has a Brave visual overlay with a promotional code for consumers to win a range of Brave-themed prizes, including a family activity day at Gleneagles, VIP tickets to screenings, and other themed merchandise such as iPads and Disney store vouchers. The promotion will last until August when Brave goes on general release.
Scotty Brand is a stand-alone subsidiary of the potato producer Albert Bartlett. Although first established in 1948 for Ronnie Bartlett's beetroot, it was relaunched a year ago under new managing director Paul McLaughlin, formerly CEO of Scotland Food & Drink, and architect of the government's national food and drink policy, which sets a target of £12.5 billion turnover for the sector by 2017 and focuses on premium, provenance and health.
As a further tie-in with Brave, which features a bear fishing for salmon in a river that resembles the Tay, discussions are under way with retailers to sell Scotty Brand's new hot and cold-smoked Scottish salmon, and McLaughlin plans to include Scotch beef, oatcakes, biscuits, muesli and rapeseed oil in the offer.
Albert Bartlett's partnership with Disney Pixar began in 2010 with Toy Story 3. Their collaboration in TV advertising and on-pack promotion campaigns was so successful that Disney approached the company again for Brave.
"It's the perfect partnership, because Brave is set in Scotland," said McLaughlin. "Disney were looking for a healthy product to associate with, and there's no doubt our collaboration has helped us grow." n