Anyone who’s been out and about in London must have noticed Halifax’s new advert that focuses around Top Cat – the infamous Hanna–Barbera cartoon from the 60’s. Whether you’re at home watching TV or driving across the city, Halifax has done an amazing job in making yellow cat in the purple waistcoat hard to miss as it’s (he’s?) plastered across the city.
Initially, I tried to understand why – because that’s always step 1 – why would a well-respected financial services bank like yours go ahead and use a cartoon in their advertising, and secondly – why did it bothered me this much.
Being part of the advertising world, I like to keep a close eye on the ads making waves – as well as those that are crashing and burning. The TC advert puzzled me to no end – until it was in my face way too much and essentially became annoying. I could not think of the link between the bank and the cat – is it because Top Cat lives in a bin? Or was it because they’re both old school? Did a cat actually go in and ask for a mortgage to spark that creatives session? It was all quite funny until I assumed that it’s the marketing guys at Halifax who got it wrong – thinking that they’re the ones who need to get a grip before throwing in a homeless cat in their campaign strategy…. that was until I started to question whether or not this was an attempt at audience-based marketing – and that festered into a scary thought!
I mean, imagine – we are now living in a world where the complexities of buying a property are so obscure and difficult to understand, that we need a cartoon cat to sell us the brand. Has it really just come to that? Are we that far gone as a civilization that we can’t make sense of it all – and need it to be sold to us through a cartoon?
It’s incredibly sad that the message has to be broken down, simplified and be told by friendly cartoon characters for it resonate with audiences – maybe this is the world we now live in… I guess that’ll have to do!