Residents of the UK will be familiar with Tango (a soft drink), and the variety of fucked-up marketing schemes they have run over the last 10 or so years. The first of note featured an orange man (not an angry Irish person, an actual bald man with orange skin) in a nappy violently slapping a Tango-drinker around the ears. After a spate of copycat Tango-ings in playgrounds, it was substituted for giving him a head-twisting kiss. A few more surreal attacks followed in other ads in the series. Later, Tango ran a number of promotional freebies funded by premium phone lines. The most recent poster ads (as of this writing) include :

New Tango Tropical : Don't slag it off until you've tried it. (Then slag it off.)

Tango : Officially A Drink During Euro 2000

YOU NEED IT BECAUSE YOU'RE WEAK

Hot, Tired, Thirsty? Ha ha ha - I'm Not.

Heat and Crowds Getting You Down? I Couldn't Give Two Monkeys.

Hot Weather Making You Sweat? Then Buy A Drink You Mug

The last few are funny but rather creepy, with their laughing beach-people mocking the observer. Rather reminiscent in humour to Viz or UK:Resistance. There was also another ad for Tropical Tango which appeared to be a Lilt ad and had a tagline like "The Totally Original Tropical Flavoured Drink, Honest". Tango is quite rank stuff (except Tango Cherry), but long may their subversive ads reign.
I remember the controversial "boxing man" Tango TV advert. This one was pulled after a few weeks screening in 1996 in fear of offending our European Partners™.

The spot opened innocently enough with a Tango complaints manager reading out a letter from a French exchange student, identified only as "Sebastian". The gist of the letter was that Sebastian had always enjoyed Tango drinks, and was pleased to see there was a new flavour, namely Blackcurrent. He went on to explain how, when he finally tried some, he found it slightly disappointing. It just wasn't as good as the other flavours. The manager starts talking to camera. He says words to the effect that a lot of people had worked very hard to get the flavour of new tango perfect. That lots of other people liked it, and why couldn't you, after all a visitor to our country, just accept that. He continued in this vein as he left his office and strode off confidently across a field, with a few people tagging a long.

At this point, the music, a thumping dance beat, swells and the manager starts to get undressed. More people run to his side from over the rolling hills. The manager is continuing to opine about Sebastian. I seem to remember phrases like "you come over here" and "is this how you repay our kindness?" being shouted. He is now wearing nothing but boxer shorts and still marching forth with great purpose. One of our hero's supporters (who now number several hundreds) produces a pair of boxing gloves and one of those silky boxers gowns, which the manager puts on.

The camera pans out quite far to show that the crowd is approaching the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover whereupon waits a boxing ring. The manager climbs in and shouts at France, "Come on Sebastian, lets see what you're made of! COME ON SEBASTIAN! COME ON! Come on then France! Europe! The world! We'll take you all on! I drink Blackcurrant Tango. Come and get me!". At this point, 3 RAF Harrier jump-jets pop up from over the horizon, pointing south and hover menacingly over the ring....

Here the advert ends abruptly.


I noded the above from memory. The full text of the Rant is available at http://www.cabbage.demon.co.uk/tango2.html
Tango, known for their weird-arse and deliciously twisted adverts, are also very sneaky when it comes to product marketing and brand development.

The orange flavour had been around for ages, so, when trying to introduce the new blackcurrant taste experience as well as the plastic bottle packaging for Tango Still (the non-fizzy fizzy drink), they would turn up at clubs with bags full of empties to scatter around in the bins and trashcans inside and on the streets nearby. Seeing the leftover traces of this stuff everywhere, they planted the idea that everyone who was anyone was drinking this stuff. The sight of the stuff became familiar, even before it was tasted.

This has spread around: employing hip and fabulous people to sit on the tube reading your exciting new magazine, to swank around in fashionable places consuming your brand. Product placement has oozed off the screen and into the crowds. Tango's strategy was astonishingly subtle compared to the stunts being pulled by the burgeoning numbers of guerilla marketing companies.

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