Tango & Casual Sexism – Eh?

// 7 July 2009


Oh, hurrah! It’s another ‘ironic’ sexism advert!*

Is it?

Seriously, does anyone have a clue what this is supposed to mean? (More of the same ads here).

I can’t decide if I should be in favour of this or mildy outraged. (As we all know, I “sit around all day waiting for things to be outraged by“)

Hm… help, fellow feminists!

[Thanks to Kristin Aune for the hat tip]

* Homer: “Oh and by the way, I was being sarcastic.” Marge: “Well, duh.”

Comments From You

Catherine Redfern // Posted 7 July 2009 at 12:20 pm

Commenting on my own post to add: Yes I know that probably Tango are rubbing their hands with glee right now, cackling “Our plan to spark controversy worked!”

Pathetic, really though isn’t it?

Anji // Posted 7 July 2009 at 1:17 pm

I saw one today that said “Tango made me suck a bull’s udder” – no idea what that one’s meant to mean either. The only ideas I’ve come up with so far indicate a joke about bestiality, and no ad company would stoop that low… would they?

Qubit // Posted 7 July 2009 at 2:33 pm

Maybe I am being slow but I am right in thinking the things listed are consequences which could be associated with alcohol consumption but with alcohol replaced by Tango. Are these add actually out in the street?

The comments don’t surprise me but the fact the can says ‘twat’ does. Normally even minor swears are censored where children might see them. I actually really have no opinion on the adverts what so ever they are just too weird.

Jane // Posted 7 July 2009 at 3:04 pm

Actually it’s a really bad ad. It’s confusing. Some ad wag must have thought that mixing up two pisspoor ideas (hair loss and a ‘hilarious’ take on casual sex . . ism) would somehow result in one good idea.

Too Much Tango = Shit Ad

Much better.

bzzzzgrrrl // Posted 7 July 2009 at 3:31 pm

I’m with Qubit here. TWAT? Really? On a soft drink can?

Aimee // Posted 7 July 2009 at 3:44 pm

Yeah, I saw these and thought ‘what’? They’re trying to be ‘clever’ and appeal to that brand of humour that the ‘young people’ subscribe to. You know that car insurance advert with that youngish man, and he says something like, ‘they don’t ask you silly questions like ‘do you have a beard, do you like bread?”… that one? It’s supposed to be funny, and it’s supposed to emulate kind of.. contemporary alternative humour but it doesn’t quite work and just ends up being annoying? I think that’s what they’re trying to do with the Tango ads. They don’t quite understand how people communicate with eachother anymore. They don’t understand sarcasm and irony. They try and emulate it and fail miserably.

That’s my theory anyway.

Clare // Posted 7 July 2009 at 4:37 pm

I quite like them actually – perhaps I’m one of those ‘young people’ but I laughed quite a lot when I saw the one about guffs. Yes, some work better than others and some are just rubbish, but I don’t think they’re sexist – just ridiculous.

The can saying T.W.A.T. is another issue though, surely that can’t be so blatantly allowed?!

Kate // Posted 7 July 2009 at 5:22 pm

I saw this advert in a bus shelter the other day and it really pissed me off. Ironic my arse. They would never say “causes mild racism” now would they?

Karen // Posted 7 July 2009 at 6:31 pm

Hi there. First of all ,Anji: the advert said about sucking a BULLS udder, thus the ASA have allowed a blatant joke about oral sex to be advertised everywhere. I didn’t get it at first either. Trouble is, here we are discussing the ads which is just what the infantile adpersons want. But hey, jokes about dicks unintentionally getting sucked are okay because “it’s a larf innit”

Secondly, I think any use of advertising to make up excuses for the halfwits out there that think sexism is okay has to be a bad thing. Why not take it further, “Too much Tango made me beat my children” or “Too much tango made me racist”. Tossers!

Rob M // Posted 7 July 2009 at 7:21 pm

Tango Ad Campaign In Silliness Shocker

It’s nonsensical fun, a la all of Tango’s ad campaigns for what must be coming up to two decades. Don’t worry about it.

Rosalynd // Posted 7 July 2009 at 9:00 pm

I dunno, but in a way my reading of it was hair loss=bad, casual sexism=bad? Maybe not how they meant it though-hard to tell.

I saw the ‘guffs’ one and just thought it was trying to be early 90’s ‘laddish’ (like the seriously lame lynx ad’s) and therefore just looked dated and desperate.

All in all just pretty wank ad’s tbh.

Amy2 // Posted 7 July 2009 at 10:43 pm

..” I think that’s what they’re trying to do with the Tango ads. They don’t quite understand how people communicate with eachother anymore. They don’t understand sarcasm and irony. They try and emulate it and fail miserably.

That’s my theory anyway.”

Yeah I can’t put my finger on why so many of these ads annoy me, the ‘touchy feely’ ones too that come off as some slightly aspergic person trying to ‘get’ it.

Catherine Redfern // Posted 8 July 2009 at 9:36 am

Hi Kate & Karen

Absolutely. The irony explanation never convinces me either!

I too think they probably wouldn’t say that. But of course, many adverts are racist, without necessarily admitting up front that they are.

Denise // Posted 8 July 2009 at 11:31 am

Well, the juveniles at the ad agency (who no doubt think they’re quirky, witty, cutting-edge and iconic, ‘fraid not, people) “had to bring the madness to life to truly engage with the target audience (?!) and establish a dialogue with the brand”…”to disrupt the consumer journey (??!) and maximise impact and memorability”.

It’s impacted on me in that if I see anyone drinking it I’ll assume them to be a target audience sexist gingerphobe. And I’ll remember never to buy another can of the stuff.

Juliet // Posted 8 July 2009 at 11:38 am

Tango had another stupid ad campaign years ago (think it was in the early 90’s) where an orange man ran around slapping people who drank it. The campaign attracted widespread criticism because it led to a slapping craze among schoolchildren.

Their sales have been falling for years and they are indeed desperate.

katrina // Posted 8 July 2009 at 12:05 pm

I think I can explain the appearance of “twat” in the ads. Some people genuinely confuse “twit” and “twat”, and are far too confident of their mastery of the English language (they’re native speakers, innit!) to get a proofreader in.

I actually read a magazine aimed at learners of English as a foreign language which introduced the word “twat” as vocabulary, and defined it as “a silly person”. The magazine had the same Zany, Cool, Irreverent vibe that these ads do.

Shev // Posted 8 July 2009 at 1:58 pm

Amy2, what’s with the ablist comment?

People with Aspergers are perfectly able to ‘get it’ – it’s just that they interact socially in a different way. Perhaps a better analogy would be a sleazy guy coming onto a younger woman and not understanding that his behaviour is gross and offensive.

Kit // Posted 8 July 2009 at 2:40 pm

@ Karen wow, that didn’t sink in the first time I read the advert. Although, there seems to a thing for making cows male (in adverts it’s happened a bit, like the Boddingtons one a few years ago, and apparently a film about farm animals), so it makes me wonder if people really think bulls have udders…

The advert posted would make more sense if it was a “hip” alcohol awareness one (like the one on TV showing the guy climbing up some scaffolding like a superhero), but as it’s Tango I’m stumped.

Catherine Redfern // Posted 8 July 2009 at 4:00 pm

Shev, thanks for the clarification. Apologies for not picking up on that as moderator of this comment thread.

Shev // Posted 8 July 2009 at 4:18 pm

It’s nearly time to go home, so I’m feeling more positive, and would like to look at this optimistically – the tango ads could be seen as quite awesomely trans-positive in that the bull’s identity as a male bovine is in no way compromised by his udders. Cool, huh?

Catherine – I guess I’ve just absorbed the idea that as commenters in this community, we all have a responsibility to ensure safe spaces =0)

Aimee // Posted 8 July 2009 at 4:27 pm

It’s a shame ‘cos that advert they used to run with the hedgehog really made me laugh! Childhood memories… dasehed….

maggie // Posted 8 July 2009 at 9:57 pm

im actually more annoyed at the ginger jibes yet again. its so annoying to keep hearing ignorant clueless morons making fun of people with red hair. its like making fun of someones skin colour. i have red hair and have pale whit skin and freckles, im irish, im a celt. so shoot me.

David Kames // Posted 9 July 2009 at 1:01 am

In general the less definable benefit a product has, the more nonsensical the advert.

Too much Tango causes belching, a sticky sickly feeling, and perversely make you feel more thirsty…

Actually looking at this ad, I have a feeling they wanted to write “may cause hair loss and casual sex” but wimped out at the last moment. As for the “Twat” thing, that may be a genuine mistake “Tango with added Tango” is actually not a bad slogan for promoting a larger can (although I find 330ml of flavoured-fizzy-sugar-water quite adequate.)

“Too much Tango will make your hair turn ginger. Yes those ones too.”

I’ve never understood why people seem to think that *ahem* “both sets of hairs” wouldn’t be the same colour…

I don’t see that it incites sexism; although I can see people not wanting the word sexism used in a meaningless / humor(ous/less) context…

I generally find more to object to in the ads for “anti-ageing” products.

shaz // Posted 9 July 2009 at 11:34 am

i just complainedto the Brtitvic customer careline – 08000321767

i had a right rant – they are gong tosend me a written response.

Amy2 // Posted 9 July 2009 at 9:05 pm

Sorry for the comment on asperger’s – i was hoping ‘slightly aspergic’ would be ok. Besides asperger’s isn’t so much a disorder so much a way of life and thinking.

OT – PLus you’d be wrong to think they ‘get what they fail to use’, it’s the other way round if anything.

Aimee // Posted 10 July 2009 at 4:09 pm

I think the ginger bashers are just jealous! I think red hair is beautiful. This comment has no academic content, or any real purpose other than to try and let all those downtrodden ginger haired people out there know that I think their hair is really beautiful.

*sigh* I wish I was ginger.

Karen // Posted 10 July 2009 at 6:39 pm

Hi Catherine. I agree. I think that one problem with ads these days are that they are trying hard to make actors look like the rest of us. We know that they are actors, not civvys, because if they used joe or josephine bloggs, equity the actors union would be up in arms to protect jobs for their members (I can understand that and am not condemning it). Trouble is, they are overdoing it, hence the insurance ad. As for the irony, yep, I can do without it in adverts. If I want a dose of Irony, I’ll put something from my Pet Shop Boys collection on.

RadFemHedonist // Posted 11 July 2009 at 7:52 pm

I agree with with the other comments, it’s the kind of advertising that tries to be hip and down with the kids but fails epically because it doesn’t grasp the way that streams of non-sequitur silly conciousness work, that there’s a logic to them and you can’t just throw out completely random things that are “un PC” or do that whole thing where you’re supposedly being ironic but contradicting yourself and pretend it’s humorous. The advert is so nonsensical it’s hard to tell what on earth the point of it is, I can’t tell whether it’s sexist or not. The ginger bashing is unacceptable as always.

Having aspergers doesn’t mean you don’t “get it”, if it is nuance and subtlety in humor and the concepts of irony and sarcasm, I have aspergers, and I know other individuals with aspergers, and they aren’t any more oblivious than anyone else. I know quite a few people without aspergers who have really inane senses of humor that are dependent on sexism, homophobia and racism much of the time, they seem to have great difficulty understanding basic concepts underlying interaction with others such as equality.

Sheila // Posted 15 July 2009 at 3:25 pm

I have complained to the advertising standards agency about this.

If you find the advert offensive then please complain to them too. It will only take 30 seconds. Here is the link:


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