Recapturing Tango’s zeitgeist is Stewart’s first task at Britvic

A marketing push to breath new life into the once dominant Tango brand (MW last week) is just one of the challenges facing recently installed Britvic marketing director Simon Stewart.

He predicts that in the next 12 to 18 months the fruit carbonate sector could enjoy the same resurgence as the cola market. Stewart calls Tango a “dream brand” for any agency or marketer. “It has permission to do all sorts of things. It’s edgy and has so much potential,” he says.

Stewart’s idea is that the brand will take a more digital approach. In fact, Stewart – who joined Britvic less than six months ago from EMAP as chief marketing officer following stints at Coca-Cola and Diageo – plans to review the drinks company’s overall marketing approach and make it “a little braver”.

With the company in the planning stages for activity between October this year to next, Stewart says it will be looking to reduce its reliance on traditional media and in particular press.

He points to the success of the latest Drench campaign, created by CHI & Partners, as the model it will be looking to emulate for its other brands. CHI created a TV ad featuring a break-dancing Brains from Thunderbirds and a website that allows visitors to make Brains dance using a webcam or keyboard. The ad has also had over 2 million hits on YouTube.

Stewart has already restructured Britvic’s agency roster, handing Bartle Bogle Hegarty its more established Tango and J2O brands, alongside its Robinsons account. CHI will continue to handle Drench, while also focusing on new product launches.

CHI has been working on a campaign for V Water, the vitamin-enhanced water brand acquired by PepsiCo in April this year. And it may soon have some more work on its hands as Britvic – which has the licence to distribute, produce and market PepsiCo’s Pepsi, 7Up and Gatorade brands – eyes new product opportunities for the UK.

Stewart says one opportunity could be in energy drinks, where Britvic’s only presence is the “pretty small” Red Devil brand.

On-trade sector

Britvic is also planning a launch in the troubled on-trade sector, which has had to contend with the effects of the smoking ban and the harsher economic climate.

While he agrees that there will be a tightening of budgets among all marketers in the New Year, Stewart maintains Britvic will continue to eye acquisition opportunities and develop new products. And it has had a strong year to push forward from.

In its latest trading update released last week, it reported global revenue growth of 29.9% to £690m in the nine months to July 6. Volume growth in its stills drinks brands in Great Britain was 7.8%, against a market that saw a decline of 1.2%. In carbonates, it experienced a volume growth of 2.6%, buoyed by the strong performance of Pepsi, which was again ahead of the market growth of 2.2%.

Just how successful Stewart will be in returning Tango to its former glory, will be watched with interest by Andrew Marsden, who oversaw the removal of artificial colours and flavours from Tango last year and the subsequent supporting marketing campaign.

Marsden says: “It’s an interesting marketing challenge. It’s about making those original values of irreverence and fun relevant again today. If it can capture the zeitgeist then that would be a wonderful thing.”

Camille Alarcon

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