I have a rather unique connection to the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon Top Cat, in that I was named after one of its characters. I was, to put it bluntly, a rather large baby, and my parents, in their infinite wisdom, had taken to referring to me as “Benny the Ball,” after the portly feline accomplice of the aforementioned Top Cat. Needless to say, it stuck. 30 years later, and most people of my generation probably have little idea of the streetwise cat known by his friends as “TC,” but I know of his shenanigans all too well, having been raised on them and countless other HB masterworks (Wacky Races, the Hair Bear Bunch, etc etc). So, as you can probably imagine, I was delighted to hear that the Halifax had decided to bring the sassy cat back in a new campaign, marking his first appearance on our television screens in 30 years!
“Halifax has a clear purpose to make customers better off and can stand apart as fresh, different and re-energised”
The idea behind the campaign by adam&eveDDB in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, is to (literally) illustrate the bank's “Giving you extra” positioning with a series of charming activations featuring the characters from Top Cat and a few supporting characters from the real world. The campaign includes TV, outdoor, digital and social media, and celebrates how its down to earth and friendly colleagues give 'extra' to every single customer. The combination of live action and animation is hardly a new trick of course, and whilst the debut spot is no “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” it absolutely nails the tone and attitude of the original cartoons, even if it is a little surreal to see TC and Benny play off the sympathies of a Halifax employee in order to get back at Officer Dibble. The campaign launched on Friday April 22, with the Top Cat advert first shown during Gogglebox on Channel 4.
Find out what happened when Top Cat visited the Halifax
Russell Galley, Managing Director at Halifax said: “At Halifax we pride ourselves on doing things a little differently and giving extra to our customers. The idea is very simple – at Halifax, no matter who you are, we’re here to help. We’re very proud that our colleagues give a friendly, down to earth and enthusiastic welcome to everyone. We’re moving into a new era; Halifax has a clear purpose to make customers better off and can stand apart as fresh, different and re-energised – we’re totally on the side of our customers.”
“What a joy to be able to bring back Top Cat to our screens. Who knows who’ll walk through the doors next time”
Mat Goff, Managing Director at adam&eveDDB, added: “We were delighted to be given the opportunity to take Halifax back to their roots: to create genuinely entertaining advertising, and to really bring to life the populist spirit of the bank and its colleagues. We needed to find a fresh way to portray the down to earth, friendly nature of Halifax colleagues and the way they give extra to every customer no matter who they are. And what a joy to be able to bring back Top Cat to our screens. Who knows who’ll walk through the doors next time.”
The Making of Top Cat
To mark the launch of the campaign, Halifax have also, for the first time, commissioned a “Global Street Art” project to create a Top Cat mural on a wall in Old Street, London. Artists will begin on the evening of Monday April 22 and will work for 3 days, with the final mural to be on display until May 8.
It's also been hinted at that other Hanna-Barbera characters might be making an appearance in the near future as part of the same campaign. Who would you guys like to see next? Yogi Bear? Secret Squirrel? Huckleberry Hound? Or maybe someone a little more obscure? Either way, I'll definitely be watching.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from the dark heart of kidderminster in the UK.