Tango! Officially a drink during Euro2000

For those with memories long enough to remember the anarchy of the Young Ones, Loaded magazine and The Word, you may also have recollections of a very distinctive advertising campaign managed by the HHCL agency for Britvic’s Tango brand. Memorable straplines such as “Too much Tango makes your guffs smell of oranges,” elevated the brand to a status of cultish devotion on the school playground.

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Sponsor shock

While the Tango creatives were designed to shock, one of HHCL’s campaigns inadvertently taught the sports marketing industry a valuable lesson. The object of Tango’s ridicule on this occasion were the all-too-cosy bedfellows of global drinks brands with bottomless marketing reserves and the top tier sports properties from the Olympics to the World Cup who had come to define sports sponsorship.

Guerillas at work

At the turn of the millennium, HHCL unleashed creative mockery of conventional sports sponsorship by declaring that Tango was ‘officially a drink during Euro 2000’. The agency booked 7,500 poster sites at key transit points for football fans in locations such as ferries, airports and train stations. The creative team declared their intent to ‘expose the absurdity of companies claiming ownership of football and other sports through corporate sponsorship.’

Creativity is all

While we permit ourselves a wry grin at Tango’s antics, it does teach a more profound lesson which unwittingly has become known as the ‘Tango mantra’ at GroupWhistle. And that mantra dictates that assets and entitlements are far less important for a corporation or brand leveraging a sports sponsorship. What matters is the creative originality of your activation programme.

By following this example, we’ve made something of a name for ourselves in delivering exceptional marketing and commercial outcomes from the most modest of partnership entitlements. So worry not if your Formula 1 programme contains a solitary half day with a race driver, we’ve an assured method to generate a whole season’s worth of content from the most modest rights of access.

No Rights? No problem

Alongside clients with limited Formula 1 sponsorship rights, sometimes we confront more challenging problems. Like this client, a preferred technology supplier to the majority of the F1 grid that is not allowed to mention any of its customers by name. Our campaign workarounds for a series of LinkedIn animations allowed our client to credentialise itself while respecting the anonymity of its customers.

Nuclear Sponsorship

Earlier this year, Luke ‘The Nuke’ Littler burst onto our television screens in a frenzy of darts mania. Any keen observer of rolling news will have noticed a proliferation of Littler origin stories featuring teachers from Warrington School and seasoned darts vets from the St Helens’ Darts Academy. What these reports had in common was the conspicuous absence of The Nuke himself.

These news packages were proof positive that the lead character need not always appear centre screen. Employing the same approach, we build resonant editorial content around Formula 1 partnerships using the team association by proxy – rather than always relying on a driver or team principal in front of the lens.

Tell us your story

By adopting a communications-led approach to sponsorship activation allied both a deep sectorial understanding of Formula 1 and a creative mindset, the potential for a richer return on Formula 1 activation is just a click away – if you’d like to find out how we do it, click here or drop us a line at enquiries@groupwhistle.com

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GroupWhistle have a dedicated F1 studio design capability. Call us on +44 (0) 1865 727 654 or email enquiries@groupwhistle.com