Adwatch (Oct 19) - Top 20 recall: Halifax

Halifax ad misses opportunity to do something bold and original
Halifax ad misses opportunity to do something bold and original

The high-street banking brand has opted for an ad with a familiar approach.

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So, finally, Halifax is back. After the radio-station debacle and then a long hiatus while it chose a new agency, some fresh creative work has emerged.

The idea is for Halifax's employees to express their regard for its customers through the medium of song; in this case, A Hard Day's Night. The ad features real employees, selected by audition.

Now this is clearly a brand that knows itself very well, having built success 10 years previously with an idea involving Halifax employees expressing their regard for Halifax customers through the medium of song; in that case Who gives you Extra?

It featured real Halifax employees, selected by audition. Luckily, it is nothing like the campaign it ran after that, which was an idea involving Halifax employees expressing their regard for Halifax customers through the medium of song; in that case ISA, ISA baby.

It featured actors pretending to be Halifax employees, presumably also selected by audition.

Having seen the previous work, it is not surprising that it came to this solution in 2011. I suppose I'm just in two minds about whether this a brilliantly nuanced twist on what it means to keep brand consistency in the face of external events, or a missed opportunity to do something bolder and original.

Is Halifax getting a great creative and strategic response from Adam & Eve, or, for what must have been a very tight brief, would it have been better off appointing Gok Wan and Gary Barlow? Only time will tell.

I'm hoping that the campaign will evolve into something that involves Halifax's customers at least as much as it involves its employees.

At their best, Halifax branches are more involved in the community than almost any brand, and certainly more than most other financial organisations. Halifax certainly needs to give its employees a renewed sense of pride, but, much like MPs after the expenses scandal, its biggest problem is getting the citizens of this country to like and trust it again.

It is great to offer better financial-services products, of course, and great to make ads that tell people about these initiatives, but I think we expect brands to go a bit further nowadays - especially when we (part) own them.

If this idea evolves to invite people in the struggling communities that Halifax serves to join the choir (metaphorically), it might stand an even better chance of getting everyone back on their feet.

Profile, page 22.

League Tables
Adwatch (October 19): Top 20 recall
Latest Oct-12 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank
    %
1 (–) Iceland 

(Beta)/MediaCom
North

47
2 (–) Baileys Irish Cream  Bartle Bogle Hegarty/
Carat
38
3 (16=) Currys/PC World  M&C Saatchi/
Walker Media
37
4= (–) Innocent  swarm@RKCR Y&R/
Vizeum
36
4= -10 Marks & Spencer  RKCR Y&R/
Walker Media
36
6 (11=) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 34
7= (–) T-Mobile  Saatchi & Saatchi/
MEC
32
7= (–) Felix  DDB UK/
Mindshare
32
7= (–) Argos  CHI & Partners/
Mindshare
32
10= (–) Colgate Sensitive  Y&R Paris/MEC 30
10= (–) John Lewis  Adam & Eve/
Manning Gottlieb OMD
30
12 (–) Halifax  Adam & Eve/MEC 29
13 (–) Niquitin  TBWA London/
MediaCom
26
14 (–) Experian CreditExpert  The Red Brick Road/
Maxus
25
15= (-) Tesco - F&F  The Red Brick Road/
Initiative
24
15= (–) 118 118  The Brooklyn Brothers/
ZenithOptimedia
24
15= (–) Apple iPad 2  TBWA Media Arts Lab/
OMD UK
24
18= (–) Oral-B  Publicis/Starcom 22
18= (–) Sainsbury's  Abbott Mead Vickers
BBDO/PHD
22
20 (–) British Army Recruitment  Publicis/
ZenithOptimedia
21

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