< Blog Home

Halifax ‘What Happened When The Thunderbirds Visited the Halifax’ / Adam & Eve/DDB

Main Image

Who hasn’t spent hours partaking in spirited discussions with friends because of conversations starting with the phrase ‘Do you remember [insert long-cancelled cartoon or cherished childhood pastime here]’. Tapping into collective memory is a great way for brands to build bridges on a mass scale. One brand utilising this trend is Halifax which this week launched a new ad continuing the banking brand's propensity to use classic 1960s animated characters in advertising.

The latest ad in the ‘What Happened When…’ series by Adam & Eve/DDB stars Thunderbirds characters Lady Penelope and her butler Parker. The forever accommodating butler visits a Halifax branch to follow up on a letter he received only to find out he's won the top prize of £500,000 in the Halifax Savers Prize Draw Superdraw. He uses the money for a much-needed holiday, leaving Lady Penelope at home in her mansion without a clue he’s gone. The characters will feature in branch locations, on outdoor ads and online. Social media ads will feature other characters from the series.


The latest iteration follows three previous spots using classic cartoons to build affinity. An advert promoting Halifax’s mortgage range featured Top Cat, showing that after years of living in a bin even he was finally ready to own his own home. Likewise, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy appeared in an ad for the bank’s Rewards Current Account where they find they can easily rack up points by going out to eat. The Flintstones also feature in the campaign as they seek to switch from their bank, which is “still living in the Stone Age”.


The individual cartoons’ themes shine through in each individual ad. Like any good brand partnership, the cartoon ambassadors are chosen because they reflect some aspect of the brand and its customers. Scooby and Shaggy are known for their gluttonous behaviour, making them a good match for promoting the rewards one can get from dining in restaurants, and who deserves a holiday more than the forever patient and long-suffering Parker? Because of the clever match between cartoon and product, the ads don’t appear forced and reinforce the playful nature of the brand.

As intended, the use of cartoons is a perfect reflection of the nature of the bank: friendly and supportive without taking itself too seriously. The bank has services to fit all types of characters instead of offering a one-size-fits all approach. Other banks have been successful in promoting their company ethos, notably Lloyds with its ‘For Your Next Step’ adverts featuring a gay proposal, but none have chosen to associate themselves with humour. By making itself relatable, Halifax has established an alliance between brand and consumer, a bond formed out of nostalgia.