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What the Halifax should have done …

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).

I disagree.

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.

Howard_Brown_Halifax_Man_Student_Pocket_Guide2

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.

Marrtin-lewis-money-saving-expert

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.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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  • I suspect that advert would increase the number of people who realise that Halifax went under several times over. Most people blame the City, I don’t think there’s much public awareness that the worst losses were in conventional big box banks.

  • Chris Skinner

    You’re probably right Thomas, except that ‘most people’ just hear the Beeb and the Sun saying banks have robbed everyone.
    By putting some downright honesty out there, I just think it could turn things on the head a little.
    After all, no-one trusts politicians or banks right now … so if you’re going to advertise, then advertise to re-engage nad get some trust back in the system.

  • Bill dobbins

    The link to the top ten financial ads doesn’t work, unless “http://postnote%20/#1:%20if%20you%20want%20to%20know%20the%20Top%2010%20most%20annoying%20UK%20finance%20ads%20ever,%20according%20to%20the%20Times,%20here%20they%20are:%20%20#10:” is a new protocol? 😉

  • Chris Skinner

    Sorry about that Bill and thanks for the spot. It’s fixed.