Saturday, 2 June 2012

Halifax Man

I have been thinking about the recent criticism aimed at Howard Brown, the ‘Halifax Man’ from Birmingham who is now branching out in his attempts to become a pop star. Scathing, and in my opinion unnecessary comments from Simon Howell of the X Factor inform us that that his latest Barry White take off is almost certainly destined to be a flop.
According to Howell he is irritating and has no chance. This is against claims by the Halifax that customers even steal his cardboard cutouts from their branches and that he has a huge fan base. Does this really happen in Birmingham? Time will tell if Simon has devastated Brown’s chances of any success. So what has happened to the Howard Brown who beat off competition from 600 work colleagues in a Tom Jones Sex Bomb audition for a TV advert back in 2000? Is he the victim of his own success or has the advertising campaign been plugged too much on national television?
I for one now find this campaign more than a little irritating. Any initial thoughts I had about Howard Brown’s trustworthy geekiness and likeable guy image been crushed beyond repair by the relentless tirade of TV abuse and over kill. Why on earth couldn’t they have wheeled in Lenny Henry. At least he would have been more amusing and endearing to the mainstream British public. On second thoughts perhaps Lenny Henry has more to lose.
Personally I found the initial adverts different, even refreshing, and certainly well put together and interesting in their approach. However, this interest quickly wanes when faced with over three years of repetitive bombardment of Howard Brown and his catch phrase ‘Always giving you extra’
In Scotland Howard’s popularity has definitely taken a nose dive and he will be left out from local Scottish advertising campaigns. We won’t have seen the last of him on national TV though. The Halifax seem committed to milking this campaign to the bitter end.
The advertisement campaign has been very stereotypical in its display of black people feasting on ‘KFC’ type fast food buckets of chicken and the Bollywood folly of ethnic Asians breaking into traditionalist singing and dancing. This is not an exercise in racial harmony – rest assured. This is all about how the Halifax can squeeze a few million more from the ethnic minorities. The silver surfers, gays and the working man in the street have all been targeted aggressively. Now they want your ethnic pounds and pence!

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