Munnawar Chishty

Marketer of the Week

How Britvic’s Munnawar Chishty is cracking the soft drinks category wide open

Through two humour-infused campaigns for Tango and J2O, the marketer is effectively engaging Gen Z and driving significant growth for both brands

By conor nichols

While it would ultimately be banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, the 1992 ‘Tango’d Orange Man’ ad - which saw an orange genie emulate the sensation of tasting a Tango by slapping people - also proved to be highly memorable, catapulting the fame of the brand.

And it is that sentiment that Britvic and agency partner VCCP are attempting to emulate today with their recent Tango ‘Dangerously potent flavour’ and J2O ‘They're Well Posh’ campaigns.

According to Britvic, the first iteration of Tango’s brand platform that launched last year - ‘Bust’ - resulted in a record sales increase for the brand (12.8 per cent) and made Tango the fastest growing fruit-flavoured carbs brand amongst the top five in its category. Britvic’s latest campaigns will hope to build on this success.

So, who is the marketer shaking up the soft drink market? Munnawar Chishty, Britvic’s Great Britain marketing director has vast amounts of experience in the industry and is seeking to tap into the purchasing power of Gen Z. But how do you win the fight for attention with a generation that consumes information from a multitude of channels? Invoking humour and brand difference, she believes.

“When I see my 15-year-old son on TikTok I see a lot of comedy,” Chishty affirms. “We can play a part in delivering engaging and entertaining content that is different. A lot of the communication that targets Gen Z is too safe, earnest and a little too functional.” Britvic’s latest campaigns certainly attempt to break this mould and this strategy is clearly driving business growth for the company. 

This is one of the main reasons Chishty loves marketing. “It is a vital strategic driver for the business,” she states. “Titles like chief growth officer, revenue growth manager, or marketing director highlight the strategic nature of marketing and its role in creating new opportunities to drive the business forward. This is the case within Britvic, where marketing is one of our key pillars for growth.”

The marketer first fell in love with her profession when she discovered consumer behaviour and market research marketing modules on the Business Studies degree she completed at Aston University. “Bizarrely enough, I initially wanted to be an accountant but I absolutely loved the magical world of marketing because it had so many possibilities.” Chishty soon went on to join the Gillette graduate scheme as a marketer during the heyday of ‘Gillette, the best a man can get’, adopting newly founded passions for the psychology that surrounds consumer behaviour and also the changing nature of the industry. As she has progressed through her career, Chishty has gone on to bake these loves into her work at conglomerates such as GSK, Johnson & Johnson and now Britvic.

“I've had the privilege to work in various industries where I haven’t had a natural affinity but I’ve learned so much about consumer behaviour. It's the same with Britvic. Our portfolio is so broad that it covers everything from consumer behaviour in social settings at pubs to family dinner times with Robinson's squash. The behaviours, shopper missions and brand consumption are all different. I also love the changing nature of the industry; the naturally evolving nature of consumers, the dynamics of different categories, and external factors like the cost of living crisis or COVID-19, which require you to adapt your programs. The media landscape is also evolving constantly, with significant fragmentation.”

Through her passion for marketing and deep understanding of consumer behaviour, Chishty has helped Britvic navigate the numerous challenges faced by the industry and the wider world in 2024. How then, has the marketer, her team, and VCCP achieved this and more with the Tango 'Warden' and J2O 'They're Well Posh' campaigns?

Winning the fight for attention with Tango 

One of the biggest inescapable challenges marketers now face is undoubtedly the fight for attention. “People watching TV are often also using another device like an iPad or phone,” Chishty says. With Tango’s recently revised brand platform, the marketing director is looking to win the attention battle by not only engaging with Gen Z but also entertaining them. “By bringing humour in we are giving audiences an emotional connection as opposed to just a transactional product ad.”

Chishty’s perspective is that a lot of the communication that targets Gen Z is too safe, earnest and a little too functional. She adds: “Over 50 per cent of Gen Z claim to feel highly stressed, according to our consumer insights. They're looking for ways to switch off from that stress, whether through social media or connecting with friends. We believe that we can play a part in this by connecting with younger generations with our entertaining approach and our testing shows that this helps them manage stress.”

Britvic aims to bring joy to younger audiences, much like the non-marketing content they enjoy, and the Tango 'Bust' and 'Warden' ads seem to have achieved this. At the creation stage of the campaign, Chishty wished to return to the brand’s essence, “amazingly potent flavour that creates outrageous and unexpected behaviour”, and this strategy proved to be successful. The first execution of the campaign ‘Bust’ resulted in a 50 per cent increase in ad awareness and the ROI was reportedly higher than previous campaigns. “We also saw improvements in attributes like taste, modernity, and recommend-to-a-friend, with these metrics rising by two to three percentage points.” Tango was the standout performer in Britvic’s 2023 full-year results, with sales tripling since 2018, making it the fastest growing fruit-flavoured carbonates brand and contributing to Britvic's 6.6 per cent sales increase to £1.75 billion for the year ending 30 September 2023.

‘Warden’ has also triumphed since its release earlier this month. “We tested the campaign, and the feedback was that Tango, as a true challenger, can deliver a disproportionate impact when we nail the creative.”

Chishty believes that the brand has the potential to become part of youth culture's narrative. Tango Blast’s recent collaboration with rapper Millie B also received over 11 million views and between 30,000-40,000 likes on the brand’s TikTok channel. “This shows that when you deliver engaging and funny content, it resonates with the audience. They’re watching it to the end, talking about our work and even using our language.”

Embodying a competitive edge with J2O

Similarly, the J2O 'They're Well Posh' campaign was rooted in deep consumer Gen Z insights. “You need to have a perspective on culture and what's happening - you see this in the J2O work,” Chishty claims. The campaign promoted the brand’s premium adult ‘Mocktails’ range in an edgy tongue-in-cheek way by “gently mocking the upper classes with inclusive humour”. She adds: “This approach was about increasing demand for elevated experiences and tying them to a posh theme. We aimed to strike the right balance of humour in a fun and vibrant world that J2O operates in, presenting a sophisticated, modern offering in a way that will connect with this audience.”

The marketer believes the J2O campaign is not only bold and brave but also breaks away from a formulaic approach, adopting a challenger mindset similar to the Tango campaign. “We look at our crowded competitive landscape and also beyond it to think about how we can create a distinctive point of difference. When everyone else is doing X, how can we then do Y?”

Using System1 tools and Kantar's ‘Meaningful Different Framework’, Britvic gains insights into its performance, tests its creative work within a broader context and it also focuses on meaning, salience, and difference. Chishty adds: “We aim to break category conventions with our creative strategies and audience engagement, hoping to build memorable relationships.

“Ideally, I want us to grow ahead of the competition but if we get things right with brands like Tango and J2O, we should be elevating and helping the entire category, which is ultimately a good thing.”

A strong, courageous and unified relationship with VCCP

As Chishty says, “agency partners are critical.” On both the Tango and J2O campaigns, VCCP - and especially lead creative director George Wait - shared the same ethos and intent: “bravery, courage and providing connection and joy for Gen Z.” 

She explains: “When you give your agency partner a simple brief - and I love the freedom of a simple brief - you'll get amazing work back because you're on the same page, and there's trust in the relationship.”

Britvic’s brief for the Tango ‘Warden’ campaign was simply to dramatise the dangerously potent flavour of Tango Orange. “George came up with several options, which we tested against our core framework, but not many ads are set in prisons where there's dancing involved. We wanted to make people laugh for 30 seconds.”

“VCCP also presented three routes for the J2O work. The first two met the brief, but then they showed a third, edgier option. I knew straight away we had to do it.

“It’s all very bold work and the result of a strong connection with an amazing agency partner.”

An extra bit of advice from Munnawar Chishty for the industry’s next gen

The highly accomplished marketer believes that you must first, think about your 'why.'

She asks: “Why do you want to get into marketing? When your 'why' aligns with your job, you'll love it and find joy in it.”

Chishty also feels that Gen Z and Gen Alpha have increasingly more freedom to consider the area of marketing that interests them the most. “Is it social media, campaign creative, media planning, brand building, or innovation? Whether you prefer being a generalist or a specialist, think about where your passion lies—agency side or client side.

Choosing an organisation that aligns with your values is also crucial, she says. “One of the reasons I joined Britvic is because their core values match mine, like accountability, pace, and courageousness. When your values align with your organisation's, you'll thrive.”

Last but not least, Britvic’s GB marketing director wants the next gen to embrace opportunities and learnings. “Careers are no longer linear; they’re squiggly. Pick up different experiences and disciplines. This approach will help you decide where you ultimately want to be. All the different experiences I’ve picked up along the way have really helped me to get where I am today.”


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