Halifax Ghostbusters Advert

Halifax Ghostbusters Advert

Oh you absolute bastards.The Wizard of Oz and Bloody Top Cat and the Flintstones are one thing, but when I first saw this Halifax Ghostbusters Advert I felt a small part of the soul of the human race shrivel up and die. “Is nothing sacrosanct?” seems an increasingly rhetorical question these days. If they can sodomise Ghostbusters it begs the question as to what else is next.

A bit of context and perhaps a defence here. For some, the original Ghostbusters is hardly a work of art. When some reviews of the deathly Ghostbuster reboot came out, some actually went so far as to claim that the female-led reimagining was more amusing than the original, or ‘relentlessly funny‘. Almost correct.

Halifax Ghostbusters Advert

While the remade Ghostbusters film was a deeply forgettable piece of work, I also deprecated the misogynistic backlash the film attracted. But while I thought the whingeing about people’s childhoods being ruined was pretty ridiculous – mainly because some ladies with fannies were in the new film – I’ve started to empathise with those ecotplasm-loving GhostBros.

Why? This Halifax Ghostbusters Advert, the advertising equivalent of defecating directly onto the faces of everyone involved in the original film. Here Bill Murray is replaced by Gareth, the stout Welsh chap who, not content with vomiting all over the Wizard Of Oz, now seems to be embarking on an all-out celluloid rampage akin to painting a cock into the Mona Lisa’s mouth.

Halifax Ghostbusters Advert

I’m guessing that it’s no coincidence that Bill Murray is not involved, a man who, unlike Dan Akroyd, seems to be unimpressed by money and frivolity when it comes to his work. Harold Ramis, of course, did not have a choice whether he appeared in this genuinely upsetting spot, by handy virtue of being dead. There’s an irony.

“Oh, it’s only an advert. Get over yourself!” some arsehole will inevitably type. The reason the Halifax Ghostbusters Advert is so unpleasant is the inherent message behind it: see that thing you like? We can buy it and we can use however we please, simply because you like it and that has a value to us.

Halifax Ghostbusters Advert

It’s as naked as advertising gets in exploiting you, your memories and your fondnesses. And if you’re one of those ‘get over yourself’ types then imagine how you’d feel if they wrote HALIFAX DEBIT CARD all over your Mum’s face.

If you accept that some things would be beyond the pale on virtually any level – let’s say dropping Gareth into Schindler’s List to discuss life insurance, for example – then you accept that all such judgements are questions of degree. And if you have any sense you’d concede that everyone’s red lines are set at different levels. Who are we to judge other people’s red lines?

Halifax Ghostbusters Advert

For me, this advert crosses one. For I have incredibly fond memories of Ghostbusters, forged with friends, families, girlfriends. It’s a common cultural currency for people of my generation. To buy it, to unfunny it, to reduce it to digital material that’s only good for advertising financial services; to erase Bill Murray for a camp bank clerk burbling on about debit cards, well… it’s just depressing isn’t it?

To see adverts like this is to look through your memories, the repository of stuff you like, and realise that every single bit of it is up for sale. And whether you like Ghostbusters or not, that’s a frightening thought.

Halifax Wizard Of Oz Advert

Halifax Wizard Of Oz advert

I’ve been hearing from you in your droves. The AdTurds postbag is positively throbbing with anger at the new Halifax Wizard Of Oz advert, CGIing a camp Halifax mortgage chap into The Wizard Of Fucking Oz and abusing its ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ catchphrase like a racist brandishing a Union Flag.

The new Halifax advert seems to have caught people genuinely off-guard. Sure the Top Cat and Flintstones adverts were annoying but I’m not sure there’s quite the emotional connection or sense of desecration. Hacking up The Wizard Of Oz to flog mortgages for the banking equivalent of Home Bargains seems a bit like getting Mary Berry to strut around as a ring girl at Connor McGregor’s next fight.

It’s not news that Halifax adverts are among the worst on television – their record over the last 20 years has been worse than Val Kilmer’s film career. Remember the ones where they ran a radio station (Isa Isa baby)? What about the Halifax choir?

top cat halifax advert

This latest set of children’s entertainment rip-offs seemed to confirm Halifax’s view of itself as the Crazy Gang of the banking sector, but why would anyone want to entrust their money to a zany bank?

Fred Flintstone wants to switch bank accounts. Top Cat can’t get a mortgage anywhere else on the high street. Why? I dunno. Why Harambe? Because we can, seems to be Halifax’s response.

And now we have a Halifax Wizard Of Oz advert, where Dorothy and her unlikely back-up squad. Halifax approves mortgages for tinmen, scarecrows and even lions, apparently, in what appears to be a grossly irresponsible lending policy. No wonder Britain is mortgaged up to the hilt: Halifax has been giving out money hand over fist to fictional characters.

Theis new Halifax Wizard Of Oz Advert doesn’t even make any sense. The Welsh chap representing the bank can’t even approve a mortgage for Dorothy. Oh, I guess there’s a ‘no place like home’ pay-off that just about makes sense of the MGM trappings but fundamentally it’s just another example of nostalgia appropriation by the dead hand of advertisers.

Halifax Wizard Of Oz advert

But as yet another childhood-mining advert eviscerates your feel glands I’ve realised something. I don’t much care. Because this is advertising in a nutshell. If you like something and it’s popular and it can be used to encourage you to do something that earns someone else some money, you can bet your bottom dollar – or your bottom for that matter – someone is going to weaponise it and use it against you.

Our key details – age, wage, families – are already known by any business who has a few quid to spare. Business is only going to know more and more about us. Every page you visit on the internet? Logged. Your physical location at any time of the day? Tracked. Your likely voting intentions, biases and fears? Predicted. What you buy at the supermarket? Shared. Sexual orientation, peccadilloes, porn habits? Old news. All of them are up for grabs.

And where might this lead us? Targeted adverts addressing us by name? Talking about our families? Zeroing in on our every insecurity and foible? Think I’m exaggerating? It’s nearly ten years since Nike used an audio recording of Tiger Woods’ dead father whenthe golfer was on the comeback trail, after all.

People are very worried about what information governments hold on them. And that’s not something I take lightly. But have you any idea what Tesco, Amazon or Facebook knows about you? Why don’t we worry about what business knows about us too? And what it might do with that knowledge.

If you thought the Halifax Wizard Of Oz advert was depressing, disrespectful – invasive even – it’s nothing compared to what advertising is going to do with its file on you in years to come.