PETER YORK ON ADS: No.94: Tango

I HAVE to admit that I want my free Tango doll, as advertised on TV, and may very well buy an orange- flavoured carbonated drink to get it. I can't quite explain the appeal of this object - it looks like a cross between Kermit dyed orange and a voodoo doll (though much more hip and spacey than either) - but it is testimony to something. Perhaps I want to buy in to the advertising and its attitudes. Perhaps I need a holiday.

The doll is the latest episode in a long-running campaign that has projected a new "brand personality" for Tango, attracted criticism for its horror-film imagery and "anarchic" style, and established landmarks for British kiddies-fizz commercials.

The Tango doll is primitive magic. This is established by Nineties cod hippydom - young people with dreadlocks or shaven heads dancing stupid (you feel they can dance clever too) in a space with mauve walls.

One of the dancers, a man looking a bit like the 1968 Ray Davies, stands in the middle of the admiring young tribalists, produces the Tango Doll, daft object of worship, from somewhere in his satin'n'tat revival jacket and baptises it in Tango. Oh, the power of ancient ritual.

Elsewhere, a regular-looking young man enters a shop's changing room and shuts the curtains. His space is immediately invaded by a massive Viking with orange horns on his helmet and a bright orange beard, who slaps him round the face with a large orange fish. Another ancient ritual, this, the slap-round-the-face-with-a-wet-fish. Someone had to do it.

Its all live action, no tricksy computer stuff, and nothing which, technically, couldn't have been done 30 years ago, but the sensibility is distinctly Tango 1995. Tango has an advertising life of its own, its own rhythms and concerns, immediately recognisable from the arbitrary universe of new kids' media. In those terms the Tango doll is a completely inspired promotion.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

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