This was the year we properly began playing with the rules of advertising; the Still Tango campaign feels 20 years ahead of its time. In an age before social media, the plan was to make news, which several of our campaigns were able to do.
Can posters flirt? In this campaign, the guy in one poster would flirt with the girl in the neighbouring poster. Sadly, the media company then did a deal which meant that none of the posters were side by side. That said, look how confident the client was with their product. Created for HHCL with Jim Bolton.
An OOH company had space available and wanted something that would make an impact. We suggested to the Churches Advertising Network that we run this poster and they agreed. As you'll see, I resurrected the line in 2014 for the dating website, Christian Connection. That's also my Ford Anglia in the picture. Created with Trevor Webb, Martin Casson and Nick Drummond.
Lego Technics: 'Robots'
This was originally meant to be stop frame animation but ended up as live action. We had real issues with Lego not wanting any non white cast (the Germans wouldn't buy non-white faces!) In the end we compromised with an androgynous Japanese actor. This was the first work we did with producer Pete Muggleston who went on to produce our ads for the AA, Blackcurrant Tango, Birdseye, Domino's, Suzuki and more.Created with Jim Bolton at HHCL.
Max Ehrman's poem works really nicely to describe the benefits of being an AA member. And yes, that is a pre-Blackcurrant Tango Ray Gardner marshalling Ford Anglias! My Anglia is in the background. Created with Jim Bolton at HHCL.
AA Used Car Data Check: 'Protests'
Buying dodgy cars is a big problem and the AA provide a check to see if the car you are buying isn't knocked off or otherwise unsound. These ads tell it how it is. Created for HHCL with Jim Bolton.
Easter Church poster: 'Surprise'
For Easter 1995 the Churches' Advertising Network decided to contemporise the Easter message. The resulting OOH created a bit of a scandal and helped our client become Campaign's client of the week.
This campaign for Mercury used small spaces top right and bottom left of a page. A character in one space would converse with the character in the other. Sadly all the examples we did have been lost and all I have is this more compact version and a Telegraph cartoon pastiching the ads. Which I guess means they must have been noticed.
National Savings: Bank Note
This was a day out in the Masonic Hall on Drury Lane to shoot a man dressed up as a banknote. The location was much more interesting than the product message. Apologies for pictuire, sound - and script quality.
Still Tango: Litter Campaign
Still Tango was a radical departure from Tango's other drinks - for a start it wasn't fizzy and it came in a bottle, not a can. To launch it, we placed empty bottles at Glastonbury, the Oasis concert at Knebworth and various other music events. People were intrigued as to where they could get the product and the litter created a lot of buzz long before social media and long before D&AD had an 'ambient media' category. Created with Jim Bolton at HHCL.
Still Tango: 'Pirate / Disclaimer'
Our official TV launch for Still Tango was this pair of commercials that bamboozled the nation and which were banned from TVs for 'undermining the public confidence in advertising.' The club we filmed in was Subterranea under the Westway and we followed up our 'pirate' ad with a 'product recall' message featuring Tango's actual marketing director whose boldness earned him the title of Campaign's Client of the Week.
Still Tango: 'Postcards'
Having told the public that Still Tango was unofficial and should be avoided, the product then began fermenting and had to be withdrawn from sale. Fortunately, 300,000 people had called the phone number on the 'product recall' ad and left their addresses. They were sent a handwritten postcard from Marrakech telling them that Still Tango was still alive and kicking in North Africa.
Meanwhile in seaside towns around the UK, we placed our own postcards showing some subliminal Still Tango bottles in the background.
Still Tango: 'Orange fur'
Having been off the shelves for some time, Still Tango needed a proper launch. We decided to stock it for one week only in one Forbuoys shop in Purley. To promote this we covered a van in orange fur and drove it around the M25. We also covered The Grocer and other trade mags in orange fur. I'm still not sure why. We then ran small space ads in the financial pages of the Daily Express showing the price variations of the product - if there were roadworks it made it harder for the product to reach the shelves and so the price went up. We also put ads in Loot (there was no eBay in 1996) offering to buy empty Still Tango bottles as collectors' items. Ahh, the 90s!
Still Tango: 'Spank'
Finally, when Tesco threatened to pull the product from its shelves if Still Tango didn't stop dicking around and make a TV ad, this spot was filmed. It shows the Tango exec responsible for messing up getting an appropriate reprimand from his boss. Created with Jim Bolton for HHCL.
Still Tango: 'Shove'
We actually shot a number of extra takes, and didn't warn the actor what was going to happen. In other takes, Ron applied lipstick to him to shame him, wrote IDIOT in marker pen on his forehead and in this one, shoved him. I'm actually ashamed of this; though the actor playing Simon got paid, it felt like bullying.