Standard Life to axe 'Baby James' ads after review

Standard Life is poised to ditch its long-running 'Baby James' campaign and has placed incumbent The Leith Agency on alert.

The company is sounding out agencies about an end to the four-year-long campaign that stars a talking toddler and his family in situations which reveal the need for sound financial planning.

The ads have featured in Marketing's Irritating Ads survey for the past two years, and came joint 18th in the 2001 poll. The firm's current execution shows BBC pundit Alan Hansen give a withering assessment of James' father's footballing ability.

The strategic review has been triggered by Standard Life's desire for a broader brand communications vehicle following the launch of banking services and investment products.

However, the company has pulled back from a fully-fledged pitch and is giving The Leith Agency a chance to devise a replacement campaign, while conducting some "initial research into selected agencies.

"We are looking at our ad strategy, and have given The Leith Agency a brief to crack, said Pamela Hyder, advertising manager at Standard Life.

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