The UK advertising watchdog has cleared a campaign for Britvic’s Tango soft drink, after complaints claimed the adverts were “offensive” and implied oral sex with a bull.
The three poster adverts escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), despite attracting 82 complaints from people who read sexual meaning into them.
The first poster states: “Too much Tango made me suck a bull’s udder,” while the second states: “Too much Tango makes your guffs smell like oranges. Seriously I just did one.” The third states: “Too much Tango made me shave my nan. Innit.”
The majority of complainants found the ads “offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for public display”, said the ASA in its ruling, published today (11 November).
Britvic said it went to “great lengths” to test and research the ads before releasing them to check that they did not cause offence.
It added that, after complaints were received, it withdrew the ads from outdoor and press media, while other executions in the same campaign ran in the press for a further few weeks.
Britvic said the brand was known for its “cheeky and unconventional” sense of humour, which particularly appealed to its core target audience of 17-25 year old males.
The rationale for the ads’ approach was to convey that Tango delivered an “orangey taste hit which had a great impact and could cause side effects”. The aim was to make the side effects humorous by describing them in a “fictional and nonsensical way”, the company said.
Despite the possible sexual implications to some, the ASA said it felt the ad presented an “outlandish and ridiculous” scenario as opposed to an explicit reference to bestiality, and any perversity was outweighed by the absurdity of the notion.
The watchdog said the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or be seen as irresponsible, and therefore no further action was necessary.