Orange Man (advertisement)

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Orange Man is a British television advertisement for the soft drink Tango.

The first in their "You Know When You've Been Tango'd" campaign, it was made in 1991 and aired on television in 1992. The advert became notable for its somewhat alternative humour, and for when the advertisement became banned after a considerable amount of injuries when children began copying the events of the advertisement in school playgrounds.


The advert starts with three young men stood outside a fruit shop, one of them drinking a can of Tango. The voice-over of "commentators" Ralph and Tony (reportedly voiced by Hugh Dennis and Ray Wilkins) appear. Ralph says "oh, I think we could use a video replay here" and the footage of the man drinking the Tango is "rewound" (with the effect of a tape recorded being rewound on screen) to before he drinks the Tango, for a "replay". Then, a man completely painted orange comes onto the scene, who runs around the men and then taps the man with the Tango can on the back. The man turns around, then the orange man slaps him across the cheeks, and then runs off. Ralph and Tony become excited and rewind the clip again to the same position, this time showing the orange man come out from behind a post box and shows the same events with Tony providing commentary. The advertisement ends with the man looking at his Tango can in question, followed by the imagery of the Tango can on top of the orange man's head, with the slogan "You Know When You've Been Tango'd" written on it. A deep male voice says the slogan at the same time.

Conception and production[edit]

The advert was created by Trevor Robinson, Al Young and Steve Henry.[1]

As the co-creator of the advertisement, Trevor Robinson, said in 2000, he said the advertisement was "meant to be taking the mickey out of other ads that were on the TV at the time", comparing it to coffee advertisements where "they have a drink and go "oh, whoopy" and flowers bloom",[2] and they decided to "express this in an OTT fashion".

The plot of the advertisement originally involved the orange man punching the other man in the mouth, as they were trying to make the advertisement as slapstick as possible, then they changed the idea to the orange man kicking the other man up the buttocks, but both ideas were deemed too aggressive,[3] so the final idea of the a "Morecambe and Wise-esque little tap on the cheeks" fell through. People that were intended for the role of the man being slapped were passed over as they did not like the idea of being slapped. Geeves himself was scared of hitting the finally chosen man too hard, though the man did not mind.[4]

Peter Geeves, the man who portrayed the orange man in the advert, recalled in 2006 "I was asked to first of all run around, then run around and scream, then run around screaming topless, it was at that point I thought "this isn't the normal advert". The orange paint on him was orange grease paint fixed with hair spray, which took several weeks afterwards to remove."[5] Co-creator of the advertisement Al Young said "the guy (Greeves) we used was a Shakespearean actor, he was the one who made it laughable" and that it was the way he ran "was surreal".[6]


The advertisement sparked much controversy after it was discovered children had copied the events of the advertisement in playgrounds and injured themselves.

Rupert Howell, a Tango advertisement executive, later said in 2000 "It sparked a playground craze" and "people used to go round sort of slapping each other and saying "You've Been Tango'd", and it was all very entertaining and great fun; There were no problems until we got a phone call once from a surgeon who said "look, I'm not the complaining type but I thought you'd like to know that I did an operation on a child this morning with a damaged ear drum, and I was wheeling him in to the operating table, and said to him "what happened to you then?" and replied "I got Tango'd.""[7] He pulled the advertisement from television that afternoon.

It was replaced by a similar version of the advertisement, showing the orange man instead put his hand on the other man's mouth and kiss it, and another where the other man simply ran off as the orange man approached him.


Despite the controversy, in 2000, the advertisement was voted the 3rd best television advertisement ever in a poll conducted by Channel 4, who aired the final top 100 list on television as part of their 100 Greatest series on 29 April 2000, and The Sunday Times.[8] Similarly, an ITV list listing the top 20 adverts ever, entitled "ITV'S Best Ads Ever 2", was aired on ITV1 in 2006 which saw the advertisement peak at number 5.

The drink's later advertisement Pipes was also banned, but not because children had injured themselves, but because there was fears that children were going to injure themselves. Other banned advertisements of the drink included more You Know When You've Been Tango'd adverts and the 2000 Tangrewoundone advertisement.

Tango's main rival drink, Fanta, aired an advertisement in 2006 with similarly saw a man being slapped, and like Orange Man it was banned.[9]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Channel 4's 100 Greatest Ads television programme, 2000
  3. ^ Channel 4's 100 Greatest Ads television programme, 2000
  4. ^ ITV1's greatest adverts list "ITV'S Best Ads Ever 2", from 2006
  5. ^ ITV1's greatest adverts list "ITV'S Best Ads Ever 2", from 2006
  6. ^ Channel 4's 100 Greatest Ads television programme, 2000
  7. ^ Channel 4's 100 Greatest Ads television programme.2000
  8. ^
  9. ^ Sweney, Mark (2 August 2006). "Fanta 'slap' ads escape ban". The Guardian.