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
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
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
‘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.