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|
|2||(–)||Baileys Irish Cream||Bartle Bogle Hegarty/
|3||(16=)||Currys/PC World||M&C Saatchi/
|4=||-10||Marks & Spencer||RKCR Y&R/
|7=||(–)||T-Mobile||Saatchi & Saatchi/
|7=||(–)||Argos||CHI & Partners/
|10=||(–)||Colgate Sensitive||Y&R Paris/MEC||30|
|10=||(–)||John Lewis||Adam & Eve/
Manning Gottlieb OMD
|12||(–)||Halifax||Adam & Eve/MEC||29|
|14||(–)||Experian CreditExpert||The Red Brick Road/
|15=||(-)||Tesco - F&F||The Red Brick Road/
|15=||(–)||118 118||The Brooklyn Brothers/
|15=||(–)||Apple iPad 2||TBWA Media Arts Lab/
|18=||(–)||Sainsbury's||Abbott Mead Vickers
|20||(–)||British Army Recruitment||Publicis/