INTERACTIVE: CASE STUDY/TANGO; Tango’s debut on the Internet gives a sure sign of the medium’s worth

John Owen examines how the subversive soft-drink brand Tango is very much in tune with Internet users

John Owen examines how the subversive soft-drink brand Tango is very

much in tune with Internet users

If you were asked to come up with five brands which cry out for an

Internet site, the chances are Tango would be one of them.

As a young, daring brand, with a reputation for subversive advertising,

it is the perfect fit with the youngest and most subversive

advertising medium. But Tango only got an Internet site by accident.

It all began about a year ago, when Tango’s agency, Howell Henry

Chaldecott Lury, decided to put its sponsorship idents for Channel 4’s

The Word on the Net. Howell Henry had created 102 unique idents that

were destined to be used just once each, until Rael Fenchurch, the

agency’s head of new media, created what he calls a ‘Web depository’ for

the work. ‘The public’s response to that site led us to think of doing a

proper Tango site,’ he says.

And when he says ‘proper’, he means it. Howell Henry approached the task

as it would any other. A project team - consisting of the account

manager, Dominic Fields, the planner, David O’Hanlon, the creatives,

Dominic Beardsworth and John Parkin, and Fenchurch himself - was

assigned to the task. Together with the client, David Atter, brand

manager at Britvic, they spent six months brainstorming ideas, and

developing and researching them, before coming up with the 15 or so that

form the basis of the site - launched a month ago.

At the site, a dull-grey spoof ‘Home’ page offering information on

everything from DIY to ferocious pets gives way to a series of brightly

coloured Tango pages that offer random access to a range of features.

These include a dating service, a ‘pranksters’ page, a postcard section

where users can exchange messages, and a somewhat less functional series

of photographs of Piccadilly Circus, complete with rude messages on the

electronic billboard.

Individual sections were given out to different designers to achieve

what Fenchurch calls a ‘cosmopolitan’ feel. The work was backed by a

budget of pounds 250,000 - the largest ever put behind a UK Web site.

But why so much money? ‘It’s an investment in the brand’s future,’ Atter

says. ‘A lot of core Tango customers, particularly students, have access

to the Net. They have proved themselves very interested in getting

involved with our marketing. This provides them with another way of

doing that.’

Tango’s direct response TV ads have garnered 4.5 million calls this

year, which supports Fenchurch’s claim that ‘interactivity means people

respond to your brand message more positively’. Atter clearly agrees:

‘Interactivity is now integral to everything we do.’

The presence of a planner in the project team meant that all the ideas

fitted Tango’s broad brand values. But Fenchurch proudly asserts: ‘We

haven’t copied the other work.’

No research has been carried out into the effectiveness of the site, but

Howell Henry says it has had 80,000 hits in the past two weeks.

Fenchurch wants to put up a few more ideas before carrying out a more

sophisticated test.

‘It’s a living site,’ he says, stressing the need for continual change.

To facilitate this, Howell Henry is on the verge of appointing a

‘Webmaster’, with the task of updating the site and responding, both as

the Webmaster and as various Tango characters, to users’ messages.

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