Thinking about the Halifax’s ads a bit more, some may say: “they are so bad, they’re good”, in a Shake & Vac sort of way (one of Britain’s most memorable and iconic ads – see end of blog entry if you want to see it).
The Halifax ads are just plain bad and have been well past their sell-by date for a long time.
For example, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners (DLKW) won the Halifax account ten years ago and has run the "cast of characters" campaign – the one with staff members such as Howard – ever since.
Ten years is a long time for any campaign, particularly a cheesy one that has seen the bank bankrupted two years ago and now trading under new ownership, 43% of which is taxpayer funded.
So what should the bank have done?
How about a bit of honesty?
Run a campaign called: “we’re sorry”.
Get a serious but consumer liked presenter, such as Martin Lewis the consumer champion, to front it.
We may not like him, but the public do and they trust him.
So pay Martin a big chunk of money, or someone like him, and get him to be a talking head.
Then I would script him to say something like:
“The credit crisis has affected everyone, and the Halifax has been a part of that. They are sorry about this and, to recognise their gratitude to their customers they are rewarding every customer with a £5 payment for making a deposit of £1,000 each month. This is to reflect the fact that they have changed. They thank you for your continued support and guess what? I think they are OK, so give them a try.”
Something far more genuflective, like this, would be received so much better than using a ten year old, tired campaign that demonstrates that Steve Griffiths, director of brand and customer marketing for the Halifax, just isn’t doing his job properly imho.
Postnote #1: here’s that Shake & Vac ad. It ran from the late 1970s and is still remembered by most UK adults word-for-word. Enjoy!
Postnote #2: if you want to know the Top 10 most annoying UK finance ads ever according to the Times, here they are
Postnote #3: if you're interested in the ads we liked a lot, then here's our top five from 2009.