Tango (drink)

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TypeCarbonated soft drink
Britvic (since 1987)
Country of origin United Kingdom
VariantsTango Ice Blast (Slush), and multiple flavours

Tango is a carbonated soft drink originating in the United Kingdom, primarily sold in the UK and Ireland. It was first launched by Corona in 1950. Corona was purchased by the Beecham Group in 1958, and Corona Soft Drinks by Britvic in 1987.[1]

As of August 2019, the flavours available in the United Kingdom include Orange, Apple, Strawberry and Watermelon and Tropical in addition to flavours of the "Tango Ice Blast" slush range. On 7 April 2021, the UK range was extended to include sugar free Dark Berry.[2] Tango is known in the United Kingdom for their advertisements, mostly those broadcast on television in the 1990s from the Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury advertising agency.

Logos and packaging[edit]

The first packaging that Britvic introduced, upon buying the brand in 1987, featured the word 'Tango' on a circle with an orange background. In 1989, the cast, material and graphic design of the can changed considerably. No longer molded in the shape of a baked bean can in a non reusable steel material, Tango was now available in a recyclable aluminium composition, with an innovative new ring pull system. On the can itself, the word 'Tango' was featured inside an oval on a backdrop of half sliced oranges. The design was often seen on display in the form of laminated stickers, in the shop windows of confectionery stores and newsagents. 1992 saw the packaging change again, with the 'Tango' logo depicted on the fruit the drink was flavoured with against a black background, with the flavour specified at the bottom.

In the beginning of 1996, Tango packaging changed again, with the words 'Tango' and the respective flavour written on something representing the drink (for example, an orange explosion for Tango Orange). Slight changes were made in 1997, adding more detail. In April 2002, another revamp occurred, with a more three dimensional logo. The design was dropped in 2007, although is still used by Tango Ice Blast. The Diet Tango Orange products from this era featured a grey background instead of a black one.

The summer of 2007 saw a much simpler logo and design, featuring the 'Tango' logo on top of a carved version of the fruit, with the flavour written in lower case at the bottom. Intended to help restore sales of Tango, it actually led to a further decline.[citation needed] May 2009 saw new packaging created by Blue Marlin Brand Design. It featured mashed up images of fruit and graffiti style type, and contributed to a rise in sales.[citation needed]

For limited edition variations of Tango, special packaging has sometimes been produced for them. Notably, the 'Tango Talk' rebrand of Tango Orange and Tango Apple featured a mobile phone in place of the flavour representation featured on regular versions of the flavours at the time. The 2009 larger can packaging of Tango Orange known as "Tango with Added Tango Orange" featured more oranges in the background. The same can be said for the 2010 "King Tango" Tango Orange bottles. More apples were used on the label for King Tango Apple and more cherries for King Tango Cherry. No changes to flavour was made only the size of the can or bottle.[citation needed]

The labelling of the short lived Tango Strange Soda featured a "strange" fruit with facial features, patterned after the name and flavour of the drink. "Tango Orange Sound System: Official Can", a 2010 repackaging of the notably large "Tango with Added Tango Orange" featured speakers on the can, in place of the mashed-up fruit. Both these large cans were advertised as "the first time Tango cans are larger". This is not true, as from 1991 until roughly 2000, all Tango flavours could be purchased in similar size larger cans. The large cans, at the initial 1991 launch, were called "King-Size".

During 2000, short lived 250ml bottles of Tango were introduced as part of a £42m campaign by Britvic, to market their drinks as being suitable for children's lunch boxes. The campaign also introduced the popular Robinson's line of juice drinks Fruit Shoot.[3]

Tango Cherry and Tango Lemon were first to feature the revamp of 2002,[4] getting the treatment in September 2001.

Flavours and variants[edit]

In addition to orange, Tango has been sold in numerous flavours.


Name Year
Notes Ref.
Tango Orange 1950 N/A The original variety; an Orange-flavoured soft drink. It has seen many different alterations and recipe changes throughout the years.
Tango Lemon 1950's 2000's A Lemon-flavoured drink.
Tango Grapefruit 1978 1980's A Grapefruit-flavoured drink.
Tango Lemon and Lime 1980's 1980's A short-lived Lemon-Lime drink.
Tango Orange and Pineapple 1980's Early-2000's An Orange and Pineapple-flavoured drink.
Tango Orange and Passionfruit 1980's 1980's An Orange and Passionfruit-flavoured drink.
Tango Apple 1986 N/A Apple-flavoured drink.
Tango Pineapple and Grapefruit/Tango Tropical 1987 2000's A Pineapple and Grapefruit-flavoured drink. it was relaunched as Tropical Tango in 1999, and discontinued during the early-2000's.
Tango Blackcurrant 1995
Blackcurrant-flavoured drink. It is well known for the St George advert that promoted the drink. The drink was discontinued at the end of 1999, but was reintroduced in 2011.
Tango Cherry 1998, 2001 2019 Cherry-flavoured drink. It was initially introduced as a limited edition in 1998 before becoming a permanent edition in 2001.
Tango Fruit Fling 2003 2006 An Orange, Pineapple and Passionfruit-flavoured variety. It suffered from low sales throughout its run and was discontinued by 2006. [5]
Mango Tango 2005 2005 A limited edition Mango-flavoured variety that was sold for the Summer of 2005. It was introduced to re-ignite interest in the brand. [6]
Tango Aargh! Intense Citrus 2014 2014 A citrus-flavoured drink. It was sold for a limited time for the summer of 2014. [7]
Tango Blood Orange 2015 Late-2010's A Blood-orange flavoured variety. [8]


Name Year
Notes Ref.
Diet Tango Orange
Tango Orange No Added Sugar
Tango Orange Sugar Free
Early 2010's
A low-calorie Orange-flavoured drink. It was sold under many different names until being discontinued in the early-2010's, until being reintroduced in 2015, and was reformulated in 2019. [9][10]
Diet Tango Orange and Pineapple 1986 1989 A low-calorie Orange and Pineapple-flavoured drink.
Diet Tango Apple
Tango Apple Sugar Free
Early 2000's
A low-calorie Apple-flavoured drink. It was initially discontinued in the early 2000s, but was reintroduced in 2022. [11]
Diet Tango Lemon 1990 1998 A low-calorie Lemon-flavoured drink.
Diet Tango Blackcurrant 1995 1999 Low-calorie Blackcurrant-flavoured drink. It was introduced at the same time as the standard Blackcurrant Tango, but was eventually discontinued.
Tango Tropical Sugar Free 2019 N/A An Orange, Passionfruit, Mango and Pineapple-flavoured variety. [12]
Tango Strawberry Watermelon Sugar Free 2019 2022 A low-calorie Strawberry and Watermelon-flavoured variety. [13][14]
Tango Dark Berry Sugar Free 2021 N/A A low-calorie Berry-flavoured drink. [15]
Tango Berry Peachy Sugar Free 2022 N/A A low-calorie Peach and Raspberry flavoured-variety. It is the first in the "Tango Editions" series. [16]
Tango Paradise Punch Sugar Free 2023 N/A A low-calorie Orange, Mango and Tropical flavoured variety, and is the second in the "Tango Editions" series. [17]

Still Tango[edit]

Still Tango was a selection of juice drinks, initially sold in Orange flavour.

The drink's launch in June 1994 proved to be a disaster following reports of the drink fermenting on store shelves, leading to Britvic re-calling over a million bottles of the product.[18]

The drink was relaunched in September 1995, with an advertising campaign focusing on a single newsagent in Dorking, Surrey.[19] A fellow television advertising campaign in 1996 showcased the failed attempt at the drink's launch.[20] and in May 1996, Apple, Lemon and Blackcurrant variants were introduced.[21][22]

Tango Strange Soda[edit]

Tango Strange Soda was a sub-brand that consisted of juice and milk-based drinks, being available in "Strange Strawberry" and "Odd Orange" flavours and had targeted the children and teenager market. The drink was put into development in 2000 and was initially announced as Freekin' Soda in Late-2002[23] for a release within the start of 2003, but was pulled following concerns about the brand's name being unsuitable for the brand's target audience of children and teenagers, and the word "Freekin" being linked as a milder alternative to a strong profanity, which would have made the drink unsuitable to be marketed on children's television channels at any time or any networks prior to the 9 pm Watershed.[24]

The drink was eventually introduced under the modified name of Freekee Soda in February 2003;[25] but suffered from low sales throughout its run.[26] Due to a legal complaint over the trademark of the brand name and the initial low sales, it was relaunched under the Tango brand as Tango Strange Soda in September 2003.[27][28]

Despite this move and a reduction of pricing, the drink continued to suffer from very low sales until Britvic announced the product's discontinuation in January 2004.[29]

Tango Ice Blast[edit]

Tango Ice Blast is a Slushie drink originally introduced in 2004. It is produced by Frozen Brothers (previously by Slush Puppie), under license from Britvic.

Limited Editions[edit]

  • Peach & Pomegranate (2019)
  • Sour Watermelon (2018)
  • Dark Cherry (2015-2016) (coincided with The Last Jedi release)

Summer Flavour Festival (2015)[30][edit]

  • Citrus
  • Tropical
  • Strawberry & Kiwi

Summer Flavour Festival (2016)[31][edit]

  • Pina Coco'lada
  • Lemon Fizz
  • Pineapple
  • Punchy Peach and Passionfruit

Tango Clear[edit]

Tango Clear was a brand of no-calorie clear drinks introduced in April 2005. It was another attempt by Britvic to increase sales of the Tango brand and was aimed at the young female market.[32][33]

The Drink was initially introduced in Apple and Watermelon and Lemon and Kiwi flavours, and in 2006, the brand was expanded with two more flavours - Raspberry and White Cranberry, and Orange.[34]

Tango Clear was discontinued in September 2007, after Britvic announced that they would strictly focus the Tango brand on its core flavours.[35]

Other products[edit]

As well as drinks, the brand have also sold two different chocolate bars, and chewy ball sweets.

In October 2000, Cadbury announced they would team up with Britvic to create a limited edition Tango Orange-flavoured Crunchie.[36]

In July 2011, Turbo Tango, when launched, was described as the "first aerosol drink".

During 2011, several flavours of Chew Stick and Chewy Bonbons were introduced. In January 2013, a Tango branded shower gel was launched. A Tango branded hand soap was also launched around the same time.


Beginning in the late 1980s, surrealism was becoming a mainstream technique in advertising. Answering Tango's search for a new ad campaign, ad agency HHCL created the catchphrase "You know when you've been Tango'd". The campaign began in 1992 with the advert Orange Man; it featured a man drinking Tango and immediately being slapped around the face by a portly man painted orange (Peter Geeves).[37] The advert 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.

Tango voluntarily replaced the "slapping" advert with an almost identical new version, where the orange clad person kisses the man instead of hitting him. The original version was ranked third in a list of "The 100 Greatest TV Ads", in a 2000 poll conducted by The Sunday Times and Channel 4.[38]

Most subsequent Tango advertisements have avoided showing violence, except for the advert from October 2004, "Pipes", which showed a man rolling down a hill with concrete pipes, causing it to be banned, and the advert from March 1997, "Vote Orange Now", where the orange clad man made another appearance, slapping the advert's protagonist several times. This latter advert was featured in the first advert break on Channel 5.[39]

In March 2000, an advert originally produced in 1998, which depicted a pre-fame James Corden being bullied for not drinking Tango, was banned because it was seen as encouraging the bullying of overweight children.[40][41][42] The replacement was a satirically inoffensive advert, Drink Tango: It's Nice.

During August 1999, Tango teamed up with the newspapers Daily Mail and Daily Record to extend their summer peak sales period in a campaign called "Tango Time". The main thread of the campaign activity was a competition where a time of day is printed on the base of cans of Tango. The winning 'Tango Time' was published in the Daily Mirror and Daily Record and winners invited to call a prize claim line. The newspaper adverts were trailed by branding on the front page, including a free offer for a bottle of Tango. The adverts containing the winning 'Tango Time' ran for twenty six days in August 1999.[43]

Tango Apple has often been subject to experimental advertising including an "Apple Tango Calendar" given free in June 1996 with the Daily Star[44] and, in 2003, the "Big Drench Tour", a roadshow of a thirty foot tall apple shaped installation filled with water. Players must stand underneath and take part in a game of 'drench roulette' to win prizes.[45]

Later that year, as Tango Strange Soda launched, three ultimately unsuccessful advertisements for the drink (Taste Buds, Trainers and Classroom) were aired featuring a man's "taste buddies" which are a group of young men behaving as the man's taste buds that vibrate rapidly when the man consumes Strange Soda. The "taste buddy" actors in the advertisements were shot as live action, with the actor standing on a moveable circular frame which was then manoeuvred via a handle to give the "vibrating" trembling effect for each of the "buddies" seen on screen.[46]

In August 2009, a billboard campaign extolled the "weird and wonderful" side effects of drinking too much "Tango with added Tango Orange" (such as "Too much Tango made me suck a bull's udder").[47] The British press pointed out that the initials of "Tango With Added Tango" spelled the insult "twat" when read vertically, and this was later revealed to be intentional.[48]

Tango advertisements have sometimes featured phone numbers for viewers to call, although the phone numbers would typically appear too briefly on the screen for viewers to type in the number or write it down. Many of these advertisements incorporate a send-away prize, including a rubber doll or a clown horn (the Tango Horn).

A notable exception was an advert which first premièred in 1993 for Still Tango disguised as a subvert falsely alerting people that the drink is unauthorised, and features a phone number for 'affected' viewers to call. Tango sponsored the television show The Word in 1994 and the Underage Festival in 2010.[citation needed] Historically, slogans have included "You Taste the Tang in Tango Every Sparkling Sip You Take" in the 1960s and "The Whole Fruit" in the late 1980s.

Blackcurrant Tango[edit]

Blackcurrant Tango is notable for the multiple award-winning television commercial from 1997,[49] St George, which was used to promote it.

For the launch of Blackcurrant Tango in 1996, HHCL produced the "St. George" television and cinema advertisement. In the advertisement, a member of Tango's customer service staff, Ray Gardner, provides a response to a letter of complaint about the flavour of Blackcurrant Tango he has received from Sebastien Loyes, a French exchange student. The letter prompts an increasingly jingoistic tirade during which Ray Gardner removes his suit to reveal bright purple boxing shorts. In one seemingly continuous take, he walks from his office, marches out of Tango's building, and is joined by a flag waving crowd as he enters a boxing ring.

As the camera pulls back, the ring is revealed to be perched on the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover. As the camera circles, Gardner can be heard shouting, "Come on France, Europe, the world. I'll take you all on! I'm Ray Gardner. I drink Blackcurrant Tango. Come and get me!" whilst three Harrier jump jets with purple landing lights hover in the background.

The advertisement was notable for the use of digital editing to seamlessly merge a number of tracking shots, including the final transition from a sky camera to a helicopter shot. Ray Gardner later won the ITV Best Actor in a Commercial award for his performance. The commercial was voted the Best Long Commercial (1956–2001), by the United Kingdom's Film4 television channel in June 2007. The song that appeared in the advertisement, "Don't You Want Me" by Felix, was rereleased with Tango branding.


On 25 August 2005, over 100,000 cans of Tango Cherry and Tango Fruit Fling were recalled over fears they could explode due to an ingredient in the drink.[50]


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External links[edit]