DIARY: Howard to the rescue as UK customs recall his ads for the Halifax

Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners knows a bit about casting. Just look at the agency's selection of the goggle-eyed smiling Howard for its campaign for the Halifax, which - like it or loathe it - has improved the business performance of both agency and client alike.

And as if that wasn't enough, Howard and his burgeoning fan club has recently got the agency's deputy chief executive, Tom Knox, out of a pickle.

Knox and Howard were recently visiting Paris on the Eurostar. However, the pair was so preoccupied with patting each other on the back at the success of their campaign, that they forgot to pack their passports.

On arrival in Paris, they breezed through the "stringent French immigration operation. But they were less lucky on the return journey. A stern - and uncharacteristically attentive -French customs officer became suspicious when he saw the two skulking in the shadows. Raising a wry eyebrow, he promptly called them over and, discovering them to be bereft of their little red books, promptly marched them off to the UK customs.

But all fears of a stay at Sangatte were allayed once the UK customs officer recognised Howard. "You're the bloke from the Halifax! he cried, before waving him through. So Knox was able to sneak back into the UK holding on to Howard's celebrity coat tails.

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