Howard quits Halifax after bank decides his face no longer fits

After being propelled from a high street branch to billboards and television screens, Howard has left the bank that made him a household name.

To the few people who haven't seen his all-singing and dancing ads for Halifax, which frequently featured in "most annoying" polls, he is known as Howard Brown.

His star has has been on the wane for some time. Removed from televised ads in 2008, he has since been working as a sales ambassador. But the bank is, as of now, "in the process of developing the brand", and a new advertising agency has been hired, for whom the future is not Brown.

"There were options made available to him," according to the company, purported to be a role back in customer services, his home a decade ago, but Mr Brown has walked out instead, "to pursue a range of new opportunities within the media".

His telephone was switched off all day yesterday, and it is not immediately clear what this range of opportunities might be.

Halifax adverts aside, his media CV to date includes a Barry White cover reaching Number 13 in the charts, and a cameo in the 2003 Christmas special of The Office, appearing alongside David Brent in a nightclub promotion Blind Date game.

The previous decade has produced all manner of individuals who have tasted 15 minutes of fame before being left thirsty for more. But when the then fledgling advertising agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners took over the Halifax account in 2000 and created the "staff as stars" ads, the world was a simpler place. Big Brother was airing for the first time, and Simon Cowell was just another record executive.

Mr Brown beat thousands of Halifax staff who sang and danced in front of DLKW creative directors Malcolm Green and Gary Betts to land a role in the adverts.

He first appeared on Boxing Day 2000, promising, to the tune of Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb" to give Halifax customers "Extra! Extra! (I know you want more)."

The ads regularly feature prominently in polls of the most annoying adverts of all time, but were nonetheless remarkably successful, to the extent that Mr Brown became the subject of a waxwork in Madame Tussauds, an honour yet to be bestowed on the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

But, as the face of one Mr Brown (Gordon) became synonymous with the financial crisis, his chirpier namesake was considered an ill-fitting image for a time in which all round the world banks were offering anything but the "extra" he had once promised.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in