by Brian McKay24/01/2017

It is becoming increasingly popular for a brand to use  well known, and loved, characters from the world of TV/film as part of their advertising campaign.


By using, and aligning themselves with these well known characters, the brand is hoping that the viewers make an unconscious link between the two, so that the nostalgic feeling that comes from seeing these characters will transfer to a ‘feel good’ sensation towards the brand.

For example, Halifax, the bank, has recently included famous cartoon characters in their adverts. It started with  Top Cat…

…and now has moved on to including Scooby-Doo, just click the image below to watch.

But they aren’t the only brand that are taking inspiration from the entertainment industry.  Sky have used film characters in their video advertising for a while, featuring Toy Story and Monster Inc. characters. Their latest adverts now features Lego Batman;

These brands are cleverly capitalising on firmly established personalities and relationships we – the audience – have established with these characters. The adverts also remain true to the original characters personality. For example, with Top Cat he is cool, clever and charismatic so these traits need to be incorporated in the video.


In the instance of the Top Cat video, Halifax want to promote themselves as different to other financial services institutions, Catherine Kehoe, the managing director, group brands and marketing at Halifax, said: “No other bank could run this new campaign. It reflects perfectly our personality and is a real celebration of how our friendly and down to earth colleagues support everyone ­– showing Halifax as the uniquely human face of banking.”

In the case of Sky, Lyssa McGowan, Brand Director, Communications Products, said: “Partnering with Warner Bros. Pictures and having the creative freedom to bring our new Tech Team to life as animated LEGO Minifigures was a fantastic way to inform our customers of the brand new Tech Team, and we’re delighted with the results. This new service is just one way we are putting our customers first – changing our approach to advertising broadband will also allow customers to accurately assess what speed they can expect before purchasing”.


According the figures collated by YouGov, the Halifax advert was proving to be memorable for those that had seen it – the score has risen from nine per cent of the adult population to 16 per cent in the space of week.

Halifax have not confirmed whether they increase in awareness has resulted in an increase in customers, however. For Lego Batman and Sky, the results of this recently released campaign have not been announced, but it will be interesting to compare if Lego Batman gives Sky a similar uplift.


What next for the synergy between brand advertisement and the world of film and TV, though? Certainly it is reasonable to assume an increase in the type of content that includes a character from a film or TV show, especially if they continue to display the type of results seen above. However, arguably, the next step for a brand to go to is actually the creation of an actual film. In fact, some brands have already done this.

At the start of 2016, Johnnie Walker released The Gentleman’s Wager II, an 11-minute movie starring Jude Law.

Indeed, Jaguar, Airbnb and Samsung have all started to show preference to the creation of their own branded film content.

“The story is ours to tell,” added Billie Goldman, co-marketing director at Intel, which has been producing the Emmy-winning Intel Films series since 2011. “In product placement, I don’t get to own the journey and be woven throughout the story. When I own the content, I own all of that.”


And that is the key, brands are constantly on the look-out for ways to tell their story, be that through traditional methods or using film/TV characters in adverts right through to creating brand funded TV shows and films.

Creating brand content is something that we specialise at. If you want to create story driven, branded content, then get in touch with us. 

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