Steve Kay, Britvic’s marketing director behind the Nineties success story of soft drink Tango and one of best known marketers in the country, has left the company unexpectedly.
A spokeswoman for Britvic says: “He came into the company to raise the profile of marketing and of Britvic and he has done that.” Britvic says Kay has no job to go to.
His responsibilities will be taken by Richard Manaton, director of brands, who was second to Kay in the marketing department.
In the three years since Kay joined Britvic, Tango has shot to fame through its off-the-wall marketing stunts and its witty and individual ads through HHCL & Partners, one of which featured Kay himself.
He has helped the brand achieve huge growth without resorting to discounting. Earlier this year he oversaw an ambitious 124m marketing investment aimed to triple the brand’s size in the next five years, and a brand relaunch giving the four Tango flavours a distinct identity. He helped to achieve notoriety for Still Tango by appearing in an ad purporting to demand the product’s recall for a fault (ironically, the drink was then temporarily withdrawn after it started to ferment on the shelves).
The man who “Tangoed” the country joined Britvic as director of brands marketing but was promoted a year later to director of marketing, taking full responsibility for consumer marketing and reporting to managing director Steven Davies.
He joined from Carlsberg, where he worked as marketing director until the merger with Allied Lyons prompted him to leave. He previously worked at Cadbury Typhoo and Seagram, before joining Whitbread as marketing manager on lagers followed by a short spell at ad agency Yellowhammer.