Tango is a carbonated soft drink sold primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland, first launched by Corona in 1950. The first “ironic” campaign introduced the now-common catchphrase “You know when you’ve been Tango’d”, produced by advertising agency HHCL. The campaign began in 1991 with an ad featuring a man being slapped around the face by a portly man painted orange (Peter Geeves) immediately after drinking Tango. It received widespread condemnation after a craze for “Tangoing” people swept the nation’s playgrounds, and there were reports of children receiving serious injuries or even being deafened by being slapped on the ears.
HHCL (formally Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury and Partners) was a London based advertising agency prominent in the 1990s. HHCL’s most celebrated piece of work was a commercial for Tango in 1991 (co-written by Trevor Robinson OBE). The ad took soft drinks advertising away from US lifestyle and planted it firmly on the streets of Britain. When a young man drinks some Tango, a large orange man runs up to him and slaps him on the face – the ‘hit of real oranges’ – while two astounded commentators report on the action. The commercial was voted the third best commercial of all time by Channel 4 in the UK. After children began copying the orange man’s slap, the commercial was banned and reshot with the orange man planting a kiss on the Tango drinker.