Happy Slapping, son of Tango

Back in the mists of advertising time, there was quite a famous ad for Tango (a soft orange-flavoured carbonated drink in the UK). The advertising was very youth oriented and really tried to “push the envelope”.

One execution involved a Tango drinker who is surprised by a very obese, naked bald man coloured from head to toe in orange (who was meant to represent the drinkÌs shocking orange taste – geddit?). So the fat orange guy runs up to the Tango drinker and slaps him violently across each cheek before disappearing.

It was only a matter of days before kids all over the country were slapping each other’s cheeks. You can download the ad yourself (Orange Fella) here in a site I tracked down specially for you, along with some other classic British TV ads.

A later execution, I seem to remember had to be withdrawn as it showed the Orange Fella slapping people on the ears, with the results of burst ear drums up and down the country.

Anyway, fast forward from the relative innocence of yesteryear and we have Happy Slapping. This involves teens going up to innocent strangers and slapping them. Meanwhile, their mates film the action and the slappees’ reactions on their mobiles for later delight and edification.

Rumoured Happy Slapping attacks include a man being hit from behind with a spade (ouch) and a girl being drop kicked, Kung Fu style.

I’m not sure that this is really widespread or a typical press over-reaction. But as it tends to involve women and people less able to defend themselves, it’s not a very nice thing to be happening, even if it’s an isolated incident. It’s obviously going to be a defenseless person as victim, as your average 15 year old is hardly going to slap a 6″6′ rugby player type, as he’s likely to have the camera shoved where the sun don’t shine.

I’m not condoning this kind of thing in any way. But, from a purely social science perspective, these videos are passed around primarily by Bluetooth. Local Free Messaging/File Sharing is something I’ve said has been happening for some time.

How long before the ringtone file sharing thing starts to go mass market?

—–>Follow us on Twitter too: @russellbuckley and @caaarlo