Printer Friendly

HOWARD'S END; Halifax's Brummie ad star is kicked out ... by Cockney cartoon version.

Byline: TOM WELLS

THE Halifax has delivered a shock snub to its Birmingham star Howard Brown - by using a COCKNEY to impersonate his Brummie accent in a new TV advert.

Howard became one of the most famous faces in Britain after the bank chose him from thousands of its employees to front a television advertising campaign in 2000.

He starred as an all-singing, all-dancing Brummie bank manager who sang about Halifax offers to hit tunes including Sex Bomb by Tom Jones.

The customer services advisor went on to appear in two more adverts, filmed on location in South Africa and Namibia.

But for the fourth set of TV ads, the bank has swapped the real Howard for an animated lookalike.

His instantly recognisable voice has also gone - because a London actor has been called in to fake his Brummie accent.

Halifax, which spends pounds 25 million a year on advertising, refused to comment on whether their star had been ditched to cut costs, saying that staff salaries were confidential.

But it is understood Howard has only ever received a one-off fee for the first set of ads and was not paid for the new campaign, even though the bank is cashing in on his image. Last night the firm behind the latest TV adverts admitted they were much cheaper to produce - suggesting that Howard may have been scrapped to save money.

Malcolm Green, creative director at ad agency DLKN, said: 'The new campaign is partly a pragmatic choice because the old adverts which included Howard were very expensive.

'They were filmed abroad which meant flying him and others out to places like South Africa and Namibia.

'The new animated adverts are produced with a smaller budget and take less time to complete.'

The man taking on Howard's voice is unknown actor Paul Shearer, whose career credits include appearances on a number of TV shows including The Mary Whitehouse Experience.

Howard became the face of Halifax in Christmas 2000 after the bank launched a competition amongst staff to find a face to freshen up its image.

He saw off competition from 1,000 hopefuls and was launched onto the small screen to sing slogans to chart hits like Sex Bomb and Shaggy's Angel. Howard proved a sensation and became an overnight star. Cases were even reported of middle-aged women stealing full-size cardboard cutouts from Halifax branches as his popularity soared.

But despite his fame and thebusiness boost for the Halifax, Howard did not secure lucrative image rights like many other big-name ad stars.

Last night a Halifax spokesman said: 'Howard is still involved in the advert because it is him singing at the end of it. It is not our policy to discuss staff salaries.'

CAPTION(S):

SENSATION... the real Howard
COPYRIGHT 2003 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 19, 2003
Words:460
Previous Article:DAY OF DEMOS AGAINST IRAQ WAR.
Next Article:Matthew preferred gay clubs. He could avoid being hassled by fans; CLOSE PAL OF TV STAR IN PROBE SAYS: HE'S NOT A CHILD ABUSER..


Related Articles
Mystery of Howard's new song partner; THEY FILM ROBBIE HIT IN SOUTH AFRICA.
BOXING: Tony's title bid in tatters.
GEORGE TYNDALE COLUMN: BRUM'S THE WORD.
SCOTS GET BANKER HOWARD THE BOOT.
HOWARD'S AWAY; Customers hated the singing banker.
It's Hali-wax Howard; SINGING BANK STAR TO BE A TUSSAUD'S DUMMY.
Only a little xtra for Halifax Howard; TV ADS HAVEN'T MADE ME RICH SAYS SINGER.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |