28 April 2016 | Lauren Hackett
In the latest move by Halifax to boost their brand's ad awareness score, which has fallen over the last year, the financial brand has scored the use of the infamous Top Cat and his gang of Manhattan Alley Cats in their latest TV spots and on their website.
Over the last year, the financial brand’s ad awareness score, which represents the public’s perception of memorable advertising, has fallen 3.8 points to a score of 17.5 – marking the biggest drop on a list of the UK’s 30 biggest banking and building society brands. (Source: Marketing Week)
The previous marketing efforts of UK bank Halifax before this Top Cat move, were so memorable that I had to go and google it to find out what it was.
It was their 'giving you extra', "you're our kinda person" campaign just FYI.
I now remember the spots, but I wouldn't have been able to tell you it was Halifax if you asked so, yeah - their ad awareness has not been the best recently...
Personally, I still miss Howard.
After they moved away from his memorable character they fell out of focus for people. As a viewer we can get very easily distracted with memorable and eye-catching ads from the likes of MoneySupermarket's Epic Strut it's very easy to forget that I'm your kind of...extra? ...or something like that.
Everyone's cashing in on Nostalgia
Everyone has been doing it, I mean even the Rubik's cube is a lifestyle brand now because of how popular is has become again with people looking to the quirkiness of the past.
This rise in the use of nostalgia is not a coincidence though.
Although these characters were originally around some time ago in the 60's and 70's - they are icons which have lasted the test of time with many having come-basks or re-remembered love in the 90's and early noughties. This makes them resonate with millennials.
Many of these characters are ones which Millennials grew up with. Brands have been having trouble reaching out to Millennials and grabbing their attention and getting them to use their services and their offers (forbes).
Using Nostalgia to Attract
Traditional forms of advertising don't work on this new generation anymore - so it is any wonder that brands are tapping into the connections that are already in place for things the audience loved as a kid.
This generation have been criticised before for their constant looking back and wishing they were younger again when everything in their lives were simpler and they didn’t have to ‘Adult’ all the time.
But brands have found a way to connect with this - using the millennial love of nostalgia and what they loved when they were kids and connecting those feelings to their brand.
The spot works well as watching these beloved characters we get the warm happy feeling of being transported back to that easy, carefree time when we first saw them. That warm fuzzy feeling we get from seeing the loveable T.C. then (Halifax hopes) extends to the brand itself and make us think warm, fuzzy feelings about them.
So we start to feel about the brand the way we feel about the characters.
It also works so well in the Halifax spot because just like Top Cat, Millenials are reaching the age when they are thinking about setting up mortgages.
This generation's income is at a level where they have become very interesting prospects for brands - they have become the generation just starting to wield the buying power and with life expectancies and retirement ages getting further and further away; they are going to continue to have that control for some time to come.
They're not going anywhere so do what you can to connect with them now.
The brands missed out on connecting with them when they were young, so they are using these characters to bridge that gap and make the connection.
In the future, you can bet that there will be more and more brands getting themselves into schools and building connections earlier on in consumers lives. Tesco's Farm To Fork and Boots' Soltan Sun Care programs are the first of these but I can image a lot more of the big brand names going this way as an investment for their future.