From chip shops to viral sensation: How Tango pioneered ‘punk rock’ advertising
Tango’s punk rock spirit changed the face of advertising with its ‘You’ve been Tangoed’ campaign, but it was an uphill battle to get the industry to respect its anarchic style.
The night before Tango’s now infamous Orange Man ad was set to debut, Trevor Robinson, art director at ad agency HHCL & Partners, turned to his co-creator and copywriter Al Young and said: “This is either going to really make our career or destroy it. Because people are going to go ‘what the hell is this?’.”
The slapstick 40-second film was the complete antithesis of the slick advertising trendy at the time. The scene of a short, rotund man slapping a Tango drinker now sits in advertising’s hypothetical hall of fame but in 1992, as Young and Robinson tentatively waited for it to air, it felt like a huge risk.
But a risk is what Tango needed.
“Back in those days Tango was a tired brand,” Young explains. “It was described as ‘gathering dust on the shelves of chip shops across the country’”.
However, Tango-owner Britvic knew that in taste tests the drink excelled. Consumers described it as a “taste hit” and based on this insight Tango’s top marketer at the time, Tony Hillyer, sent out a wide brief to agencies: “Show the hit of real oranges in Tango”.
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