In its new campaign aimed at first time buyers, Halifax has incorporated the cartoon character Top Cat into its television, print and online push.
The campaign has been ridiculed in some quarters, particularly on social media. Sharp-witted users have been quick to remind Halifax that Top Cat in fact resided in far less salubrious surroundings than first time buyers will have eyes for.
Whether younger buyers will be nostalgic for a character they didn’t grow up with is also debatable – so there is a risk the references will go unnoticed or, worse, be confusing to the target audience.
However, this critical view seems too negative given the BrandIndex figures which track the effectiveness of the campaign. There's clearly been a significant increase in Halifax’s Ad Awareness rating (whether a respondent has seen or heard a brand’s advert in the past two weeks) since its launch. The first purpose of advertising is to draw attention, and in this the ad has succeeded.
The score has risen from nine per cent of the adult population to 16 per cent in the space of week, indicating that the advert is proving to be memorable.
Looking deeper at the target group for the advert, YouGov Profiles shows which methods of advertising would be particularly effective among those that are looking to buy a house in the next 12 months.
Of potential house buyers, 32 per cent say they often search for products on their phone as a result of billboard and poster advertising compared to 22 per cent of the general population. Furthermore, house buyers are more likely to trust what they see on billboards – 39 per cent compared to an average of 34 per cent.
Furthermore, those looking to buy a house are receptive to the idea of a fun advert. Almost six in ten (58 per cent) say they want an advert to entertain them – slightly higher than the average (55 per cent).
Halifax will be hoping viewers will be appreciative of the humour and underlining message in the campaign, without being bogged down by cynical commentary. Top Cat, like Captain Birdseye a few weeks ago is proving that recycling old favourites can be a winning ploy.