ASB Blog

Dear ASB, who is Brian Blessed?

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You might have noticed that we've introduced a new character in our latest advertising campaign, and naturally some of you have asked us questions about him on social media. We thought we would share some of the answers here, plus a few other videos that you might enjoy.

So who is Brian Blessed?
Brian Blessed is a well loved English actor, known for his larger than life personality and booming voice. He is famous for his roles in Blackadder, Flash Gordon and Robin Hood. And now ASB!
Why Brian?

We wanted a character who observes our Kiwi humbleness, who was not part of our culture, and yet could inspire us to share and celebrate our successes, whether great or small. Brian’s huge personality and character fitted this perfectly, as well as providing an outsider’s perspective on our Kiwi way of life.

Why didn’t you choose a New Zealander?

As part of our new campaign, we are hoping to encourage New Zealanders to make 2013 the year of standing proud and being loud about success, because the act of celebration reminds us how far we've come and inspires us to go further. As Kiwis are known to be humble lot we chose Brian’s larger than life character to encourage us all to celebrate the little and the big wins more often and with pride!

What happened to Goldstein?

We bade goodbye to Goldstein in 2010 as ASB moved into a new era, however we know many of you were very fond of him and he will live on forever on YouTube (somewhere).

Brian continues our legacy of creating great characters, and we hope you enjoy watching him as much as we have enjoyed bringing him to you.

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44 comments
I first saw Brian Blessed when he played a PC in Z Cars (back in the 60s) and have been a fan ever since. His character will be loud, in your face and funny. Kiwis will certainly know when an ASB advert is showing, from now on! I loved Goldstein and I'm sure I'll grow to love this eccentric pom. Thank you, ASB, for bringing life back into your ads.
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Love the new batty character in your ads. :)
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What a beard! What a voice! Your new advertisement booms throughout the room even when the TVs on mute!!!! :D
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Bompedy-Bompedy-Bomp
Bompedy-Bompedy-Bomp February 19, 2013 3:25 AM
Love the video of "A to the S to the B". I know I'll have `Bompedy-Bompedy-Bomp' going through my mind all night. Can't wait to see this advert on TV.
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Sorry but really do we need to get yelled at by that big bearded fellow, ASB your ad is really annoying don't like it at all whenever it comes on we change channel, Reminds me of an American infomercial YELL YELL YELL. Gonna win the Fair Go worst ad awards this year for sure.
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The new ads with Brian Blessed are awesome...best ad of the year for the home loan "gingernut" ad :)
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so the concept of this campaign is that New Zealanders are too humble of their small achievements, and this is some sort of character flaw that needs to be adressed. Why do small achievements need to be shouted from the rooftops? We arent Americans. and this relates somehow, to banks, whose sole motivation is to make huge profits by charging us fees to store our savings. The only ones laughing all the way to the bank are the ad agency who charged a fortune for this confused booming void.
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Brian Blessed is awesome. Loved him in Blackadder. Unfortunately some people around with no sense of humour. I'm looking at you, Nora and Jeremy
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The new ads are horrible. A hairy yelling man is not what I want to see on TV - very off putting :(
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I am no longer happy to say I am an ASB customer. He is revolting and disgusting to look at all hairy and unkempt!! Others I have been discussing with at work are all on the same planet. Why would such a friendly professional bank want that revolting ???? as their front person ????
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I am with you I find him repugnant and I am also embarrassed. The ads demonstrate to me asb doesn't understand women or kiwis and its rationale is seriously flawed. Arrogant and dumb for accepting this concept from the agency
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Oh get over it, they are fun ads with a great character.
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Fantastic ad! Best ad on the box currently. Asb is my default kiwi saver and will probably become my bank (if I can get off my lazy a$$ and change from anz). Can not get enough of Brian Blessed, great character actor.
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My husband and I are HUGE Brian Blessed fans, from way back when he was INCREDIBLE as Augustus in I, Claudius.

We would do just about anything for him to make a video praising us.

John is a brilliant dad who knows all the scifi trivia you could ever need to know and cooks a mean tea for his family.

Jane is six and is a superb artist and likes to draw mermaids, fairies, and zombie skeleton horses.

I can do the Codecracker without using any vowels.
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Does anyone know the name or whereabouts of the pub the Brian is in? It looks awesome and I want to visit it.
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Hi John, thanks for your question. That scene was filmed in the Puhoi pub, north of Auckland. You can find more info about it here: http://www.puhoipub.co.nz/. Thanks ^SM
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I just saw Flash Gordon recently and was surprised when my boyfriend pointed out Brian Blessed as the character in the ASB ads. He was playing a larger than life character similar to the ones featured in this campaign. Brian Blessed is awesome and I can't wait to see him featured in more ads (perhaps with Flash next time? lol) :)
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Jarred Barnes
Jarred Barnes April 3, 2013 6:49 AM
This Brian person is quite possibly one of the most annoying people on T.V. right now. Nothing puts me off about ads more then people shouting, and this is really just another stupid attempt to make us feel better about wasting our money in your bank.
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What were the ASB marketing people thinking when they signed up this hairy, unkempt,OLD FASHIONED fellow as their front man? Not a good look for a NZ bank who wants to keep its modern and innovative and professional image. I can't stand the new ads - and I see I'm not alone!! :(
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laura robertson
laura robertson April 9, 2013 3:29 PM
What an inspirational and humorous take on finance and I assume the Kiwi psyche. As a fellow Brit, I have posted this ad everywhere I can, I'm amazed it's had so few views to date! It's about time financial services were celebrated. I've watched the clips so many times it's encouraged me to apply to ASB direct!
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Bruce Davidson
Bruce Davidson April 9, 2013 8:49 PM
I have to paraphrase Jeremy
So the concept of this campaign is that New Zealanders are too humble of their small achievements, and this is some sort of character flaw that needs to be adressed. Why do small achievements need to be shouted from the rooftops? We arent Americans. and this relates somehow, to banks,
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Saatchis deserve an account handling medal for selling this nonsense.
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It would be big of Saatchi & Saatchi and ASB marketing to bite the bullet, cut their losses and admit they got this one wrong. Misreading a key part of NZ culture was a big mistake. A bank telling us how to live our lives is even worse. Even if Blessed was more universally known, his approach is too irritating to too many people. Kiwis don't often say they will vote with their feet!
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The ASB have really mucked up on their choice of a character this time. This pompous loud character trying to dictate to us is thoroughly dislikeable. His message is also unclear. I would say cut your losses and pull the plug on him before you lose your customers.
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I don't like ads in general but this one takes the cake. So much so that I had to find somewhere to voice my dislike. It is such an annoying ad, I turn the sound off whenever it comes one. The Brian Blessed character is so loud and booming and overbearing and pointless to NZ. I am a longtime ASB customer but I don't see any connection to ASB bank. I a gree he is a very old fashioned character for such a modern bank. ASB should be highlighting their ahead of the game technology, not some annoying "celebrate yourself" message. Please stop!
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Man your new adds suck. They make me change channel they are that annoying.
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Fantastic ad campaign, ASB! And considering that out of the entire telly-watching population of NZ only fourteen have taken to this page to declare their lack of good taste means you have done well! Let's celebrate! WITH PYROTECHNICS!
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This bawling buffoon in the ASB ads is a complete abomination! Mega-irritating, mega-annoying. I'm a longtime ASB customer, but because of this dreadful man, me and my millions are migrating elsewhere. To a bank that doesn't shout at me!
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I am a ASB customer who think the ASB is a fantastic bank, but the ad certainly doesn't do them any justice. The booming voice is terrible
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Every time the new ASB ad shows I mute it or switch the channel. I normally don't follow up with a complaint but these are annoying. Mr Blessed may be a fine actor, but the character he is playing is completely annoying.
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I am yet another person who hates these ads. Start LISTENING TO your customers . I find it iroic how you don't respond to these posts. Least now I have good reason to change banks. GET REAL ASB
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I think the new ASB ads are absolutely awful - every time I hear one, I absolutely cringe with embarrassment that I am an ASB customer. Goldstein was lovable, amusing and understated, and I always enjoyed those ads. Brian Blessed's acting in the ads is appalling, he comes across as artificial and totally overacting. Why does ASB choose a hairy obese character as their mascot when the world has such a problem with obesity? I believe this is irresponsible on the part of the bank. Please please shut this ad campaign down - I don't think I can stand much more of it!! I am seriously considering changing banks....
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Steve Reekie
Steve Reekie May 29, 2013 12:34 AM
I' enjoyed Brian Blessed and his characters for many years, but this ad campaign is poorly timed. It comes at a time when people are fed up with intrusive advertisements that shout at you and moving away from commercial channels for that very reason. I never thought I'd get annoyed with Brian Blessed, but I do. It's a shame.
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I have never been so affected by an add that I had to find a place to voice my opinion. I am a ASB customer and I am EMBARRASSED by these adds. I do not know who these adds are targeting, they sure do not inspire me. I CRINGE every time I see an add whether it be on TV or other media. TERRIBLE!
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Alex Wayenburg
Alex Wayenburg May 31, 2013 6:47 AM
I'm an ASB client and whilst I won't change bank. I have to say this is the worst marketing blunder ASB has ever done. It is without doubt the most obnoxious advert currently on NZ media. Please Please kill the adverts with Mr Blessed screaming his nonsense message.
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I actually agree with everyone who has commented, in a way. I really like Brian and the characters he portrays, these ads to me are just a nice piece of comedy. But in terms of working to actually promote ASB, it's a total mistake. I can't see the message at all, there is no particular service being promoted, and it's a real shame that such a great actor is being associated with such a lame campaign.
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C'mon ASB What a terrible choice. - What on earth made you think we are humble - we like to shout the odds off about being Kiwi and you get this overloud buffoon to interpret our supposed characteristics. Very poor research - it falls flat on its face
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I, to be different, like these adds. Brian Blessed makes me smile and we mimic him round the house with ginger nuts and shaggy mammalians. Yes biggie when our daughter is dry over night. Don't know if it all works as an add campaign but I can assure you we all remember it.
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I've been with ASB for a long time and think they're a great bank. Although I hate the new adds, there's no way I'd consider changing banks because of them. Some people are so fickle!
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So many people hating on the ad. If you dislike it so much, change the channel. You want to switch banks because of an ad? Were you not brought up to tolerate things? How pathetic you are to me. This ad to me is great. But that's my personal opinion. I'm not even an ASB member because there's no branch in my town. If my bank had these sorts of ads, I wouldn't switch just to prove a point that I'm so pathetic that I would rather bank with a bank that doesn't have a sense of humour. I don't see many people on here praising ASB's ads. Why? Because there's nothing to complain about. Now be off with you all to your modernistic, repressive sad little lives. Cheers ASB, you're that much closer to winning me as a new customer :)
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The Marketing department is serving up the same quality adds as fast food company food. Seriously folks, was that the best campaign idea you got from your brain storming sessions? I guess your strategy is (1) irritate people and get them to talk about your add (2) perform market research (3) feel proud that everyone recognises the add (4) repeat the process . Here is a tip SHOUTING ADDS ARE NOT EFFECTIVE!! My current response is change channel quickly and hope the painful campaign will pass.
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I totally agree with and have similar history and attitude as as Merv, June 11th, and David, June 26th, 2013. I don't understand at all the ads featuring Brian Blessed but wouldn't dream of swapping banks because of "passing Phases", which are what ads are.
I have enjoyed all comments.
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Has the old hideous old fart finally been taken off air?
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Fascinating, everyone getting worked up and commenting about something that is shallow meaningless drivel. Look at the number of comments and comparative interest at 'Successful teachers lead to successful children' and be ashamed - all of you.
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