The Cake Artists - 53 Mill Lane, Solihul" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ell brown

By aligning themselves with, and using, beloved characters, companies are hoping that their prospects will unconsciously forge a link between the two and that any nostalgic feeling they may have will morph into a positive feeling towards the brand.

Top Cat is back

Halifax bank's use of famous cartoon characters, such as Top Cat, Fred Flintstones, and Scooby Doo, is one of the finer examples of this. These brands are capitalising on established relationships that the audience has with these characters. Their depiction in these adverts remains true to the personality of the original cartoons. So, for example, Top Cat is cool, charismatic, and clever, traits which Halifax cleverly incorporated into the video.

In the example of the Top Cat video, Halifax was looking to differentiate its brand from competing financial services companies. It was looking to reflect the brand's image as a down to earth and friendly company, giving a human face to banking.

Something old, something new

In an era where The Simpsons and Family Guy remains strong, cartoon characters such as Top Cat and Scooby-Doo have been forgotten by many. That doesn't mean that they don't tug at the heartstrings of those who remember them fondly, however. In fact, Scooby-Doo had two live-action movies in recent years. And these characters pop up in other ways. Top Cat, for example, even has his own slot game on Casino Euro. Fans can join the site, claim their welcome bonus, and even win money by playing the Top Cat slot game, which revolves around the titular character.
But it isn't just Hannah-Barbera characters that have joined forces with big brands.

Sky, too?

Sky have also used cartoon characters in their advertising, featuring such characters from Monster Inc. and Toy Story. One of their latest advertising campaigns even featured Lego Batman. Partnering with a company such as Warner Bros. Pictures gave Sky's Tech team the kind of creative freedom to really engage with, and inform, their customers of their offering.

Does it work?

The Halifax campaign has been clearly successful, with a significant rise in Halifax's Ad Awareness rating since the campaign's launch. The rating increased from 9 percent to 16 percent in just a week.

The results of Sky's Lego Batman campaign have yet to be released, though it would be interesting to see if the campaign achieved similar results as Halifax's successful joint venture with Top Cat. However, Halifax hasn't actually revealed whether or not their increased awareness has resulted in more customers.

Lego Batman
"Batman animated series minifigure" (CC BY 2.0) by Spielbrick Films

Where from here?

What further synergy can we expect to see between the entertainment industry and brand advertisement? It would be fair to assume that we will see more content that incorporates popular characters from a TV show or film, especially if positive results are achieved.

Brands are continually looking out for new ways to get their story across, from traditional methods or the use of TV/film characters in adverts to the development of their own films and TV shows.