The return of weird ads

Brand purpose has dominated advertising for the past decade, winning awards for serious, high-minded ideas, with humour nowhere in sight. But is bizarre, wacky advertising finally making a comeback?

If you’re of a certain age, your right cheek might instinctively smart slightly whenever you see a can of Tango. The brand’s Orange Man ads, created by agency HCCL, first made waves in the 90s and featured a bright orange man dramatically slapping a Tango drinker across the face.

Gloriously odd, they saw kids take up the action in playgrounds (eventually leading to a ban of the ads) while gleefully parroting the ad’s catchphrase, ‘You know when you’ve been Tangoed’. It was the start of a golden age of guerrilla advertising, the wackier the better.

In recent years, as brands increasingly sought to demonstrate their purpose and focus more on the human value that they offer to the world, these bizarre, humour-led ads fell out of fashion. But could they be making a return?