Ranga and student creatives unleash a flame-haired hero to spruik alcoholic ginger beer

Ranga alcoholic ginger beer has a new mascot, in the form of Rangaman, a heroic, undie-donning, red headed, hipster-looking guy who appears in the brand’s latest ad, created largely by students.

The idea of Rangaman was born after Facebook got in touch with Ranga asking if it wanted to participate in a Facebook advertising programme.

“[Facebook] suggested that it would be good to have some video content, and that video is working super well on social media,” says Ranga managing director Bevan Wait. 

Wait says the Ranga team then approached a few educational institutions to find students to help out with a video, after which Unitec offered up the talent.

“They put us in touch with some students. Mike [Kumagai, director] put together a whole lot of ideas and one of them was Rangaman. So we sat down and had a Ranga, all of us, and the idea evolved from there,” Wait says.

The ad features Rangaman in all his firey glory, leaning against a retro van as a song, which wouldn’t be out of place in a Tarantino movie, plays in the background. Rangaman soon hoons off to the beach, braving direct sunlight, to rescue a copper-haired damsel in distress.

Wait says the idea was partially based on a Wellington man who would go around saving people from being towed or clamped. “It got built from that. We thought of a girl sitting on a beach with fair skin and ginger hair getting burnt and then Rangaman comes along, senses something is wrong and saves the day.”

The ad was taking the piss a little bit, he says. “It’s kind of a B-grade ad really, but we wanted it like that. It’s about taking the piss out of alcohol commercial advertising.”

There was no agency involved, he says, it was all done by students.

“They did it all on the budget of a shoestring. And I can’t begin to say how impressed we were, they were just so professional. I’m not sure we would have got as good a result, even with an agency.”

He says students are a really under-utilised resource.

“You can get some incredible skills and [the students]are right at the forefront of technology as well … It benefits us both. The students get real world experience and the organisation gets it cheaper and often with cutting-edge technology. These guys turned up with drone helicopters.”

He says the campaign will mainly run on social media. 

“We are a pretty small company so we haven’t got the budget to do television. So we are using Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.”

And Wait assures us this isn’t the last we’ll see of Rangaman.

“We’ve got plenty more things for Rangaman to save the day on. So depending on the response and how it goes, Rangaman could be out there solving all sorts of problems. We’ve definitely got a few ideas.”

Mike Kumagai (director)
Natalie Nepia (production manager)
Lucas Haugh (Rangaman)
Kathy Bass (damsel in distress)
Mary Poor and Rose Morgan (costume design)

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