TV adverts are definitely one of the most Marmite things in life: you either love them and absorb the information on every one or will do anything possible to avoid them! Luckily for brands – and for everyone who works in the advertising industry – enough of us watch them justify lots of money being invested in your viewing pleasure.
We’ve picked out some of, in our opinion, the best and most eccentric TV ad characters out there and are giving you a rundown of five of the best. So here we go, in no particular order…
1. Gio Compario
One of the best-known ad campaigns from recent times comes from this insurance comparison site. Welsh tenor opera singer Wynne Evans plays Gio Compario, the handlebar moustache wearing protagonist in the TV ads.
GoCompare.com have done some quirky things with their lead character over the years, including killing him off in spoof ads in 2012 and 2013. But in 2015, the brand brought Gio Compario back into the limelight again, to show off the eccentric penguin-suit-wearing character to their captive audience.
The result? According to the website, 8.7 million people were reached on the advert’s debut, so the eccentric character really does make an impact.
2. Mr Green
The epitome of high class, Mr Green is the enigmatic character who fronts the adverts for the award-winning online casino site of the same name. When you Meet MrGreen, the attractive – yet mysterious – man in the impressive bowler hat with his matching waistcoat, suit and umbrella, you’re cleverly reminded of the colour of the poker tables in a real-life casino.
The character remains silent throughout the adverts; occasionally he might smile, but you’ll never see his eyes, as he needs to keep at least some air of mystery about him.
It’s hard to tell whether he’s coy or plain eccentric, but he definitely manages to lure you in and he’s probably even intriguing enough to make you want to find out more about the brand.
3. Warburtons’ Sylvester Stallone
This was probably one of the most unexpected TV ad campaigns to hit UK screens, with one of the biggest names in Hollywood taking to the streets of Bolton to film an advertisement for baker Warburtons.
Sly Stallone recreated the iconic running up the steps scene from his hit film Rocky at the town hall in the Greater Manchester town. He’s a rather eccentric character nowadays, thanks to a few too many trips to the plastic surgeon to hide his nearly 70 years of age, but this ad definitely took the biscuit (or bread roll) when it came to odd TV ads.
4. You’re so Moneysupermarket
This comparison website’s debut “Epic Strut” advert was one of the strangest – but most popular – ads to hit TV screens in 2015 and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since. How many people would ever dream up a twerking businessman wearing skin-tight hotpants and stilettos to advertise their brand? It turns out that eccentric combination became a real winner for Moneysupermarket.com.
When the advert first aired, it was the top trending thing on Twitter and picked up millions of YouTube hits. The Sun newspaper even spoofed the character on the front page, superimposing then-Chancellor George Osborne’s face on him in its Budget special edition. All in all, it’s a TV marketing success story.
5. Howard Brown
Even though the advertisements first hit TV screens back in 2010, Halifax’s Howard is still one of the most iconic characters to have graced the small screen. The ever-jolly spectacled face of Halifax bank – who was a real-life customer services rep at the time – sang along to the tune of Mousse T’s and Tom Jones’ Sex Bomb.
It sparked a trend of real people being the stars of TV ads and it launched Howard Brown into the big time, with his face plastered over billboards and in-branch ads all over the place. However, while the eccentric-suited man won the hearts of households around the country, he was ditched as the face of the bank just a year later when they wanted to mix things up a bit.
Successful as the ads may have been, Halifax chose to take a slightly different direction – but how many of their new characters can you remember? None!
We’ll bet these ads have reminded you that there really is no escaping a good marketing campaign, even if you try to skip through the adverts every now and again!