Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Halifax's rootin' tootin' deserves a shootin'

The new Halifax ad is guilty of so many crimes, it's difficult to know where to start. Maybe just with the idea itself, which seems to have come from a long, long line of really bad Halifax ideas.

You know which ad I'm talking about -- it’s the TV and radio campaign that takes a Glen Campbell song, 'Rhinestone Cowboy', and twists it into unimaginable horrors.

The spot, made by Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, starts with Barry from Belfast. Whether the entry of Barry on the scene means curtains for the equally maddening Howard, who really took the Xtra annoying thing to new levels, is unclear. There's certainly little to choose between the two.

You know Barry is going to be as annoying as Howard when the first thing he does is have a Gillette moment about Halifax's regular savers account, throwing his arms in air and shouting "spread the word".

No stop, please Barry. Whatever you do, don't spread the word by song! Too late. Really good original songs, proper music, often works well, but when you butcher classics that's all you're doing. Butchery. This is so bad, I just have to get this off my chest.

I should say that I have a bit of a soft spot for Campbell's 'Rhinestone Cowboy', it's a good song, it's a classic even, and it can only ever end in tears when advertisers take the words and productise them.

So while Campbell about how he'd been "walkin' these streets so long, Singin' the same old song", and where "hustle's the name of the game" and where nice guys get "washed away like the snow and the rain" before rising to its familiar chorus.

Halifax then has Barry out in the Old West and the Gold Rush with every cliché under the sun -- it's all too rootin-tootin to be true as Barry warbles on about "a place out there where you can earn more than a fist full of dollars" and if "your savings just anit rising there's good news on the horizon, wouldn't you want to be where your money can increase".

It goes on and an on. I've only been subjected to it once on TV -- that was watching it here in the office, after everyone else reported being inflicted by such audiovisual pain that I had to watch it. Until that point, I'd only heard it on the radio on Good Friday. Sadly I spent most of the day in the kitchen on Friday hot-stove slaving, listening to Xfm as I cooked, which meant I heard it a lot. Somehow while bad on radio, it's only when you see the full car crash of a TV production can you witness the full horror.

The ad was directed by Andy Lambert who has previously been behind work for Thomson Local among other things. It's probably not his fault, but if you want to know who else was responsible you'll find them all here.


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