Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch 03.03.10 - Halifax

Magazine article Marketing

Adwatch 03.03.10 - Halifax

Article excerpt

Despite media criticism, this ad is an effective diversion from the bank's difficulties.

The Halifax 'High Five' ad is a bit of a soft target. The commenters on broadsheets' websites, the Twitterati, and people in the wider media bubble almost universally detest it.

It is 'excruciating, 'cheesy', 'cringey'. It does not fit the industry's definition of what is good. It is not edgy. There is no social media component. It does not offer branded utility. The agency has not even done a royalty deal based on shared IP.

Despite all that, I quite like it, and suspect it has got mainstream appeal. It is cheerful, fun and a bit ker-azy. Creatively, it may not be cool, but I bet it works as broadcast advertising.

More than that, I think it has got some dastardly thinking behind it.

People hate banks at the moment. More accurately, spurred on by the media, they hate massive corporate banks, and their investment bankers who played fast and loose with our deposits, lost their gambles, and so have plunged us into a near depression, and an unprecedented level of national debt that will take years of collective sacrifice to repay - all the while taking profligate bonuses.

Nonetheless, they do not hate their friends and family who happen to be customer-service agents in high-street retail banks.

Halifax has a history of featuring its staff in ads. However, in the past they were always used symbolically - almost as puppets (sorry Howard), literally singing the policies of their paymasters upstairs. …

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