Member log in

Introducing the new Goldstein

ASB Bank has scored leading British actor Brian Blessed as its new spokes-celebrity.

The jolly 76-year-old is a stark change from bumbling New York banker Ira Goldstein, who fronted the ads created by TBWA\Whybin. 

Mr Goldstein was dumped in 2010 when ASB switched to now-defunct Droga5. He had graced New Zealand TV screens for more than 10 years.

Former TBWA\Whybin chief executive David Walden, who told media he had further plans for Goldstein before he was dropped, declined to comment. Mr Walden is still a consultant for TBWA\Whybin, which works on the ANZ account. 

ASB general manager brand experience Anna Curzon says she hopes to use Mr Blessed for at least five years as part of a long-term campaign.

The bank’s new ads are due to premiere on TV on Sunday evening and feature a joyful Mr Blessed encouraging Kiwis to celebrate their successes.

Mr Blessed is an acclaimed stage and screen actor known for his hearty king-sized portrayals.

He is well known for his roles in Blackadder and Flash Gordon.

The actor also starred in the original West End production of Cats and originated the role of Baron Bomburst for the stage musical version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

On the silver screen, Mr Blessed has starred in Shakespeare adaptations Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet.

The adventurous actor holds the record for being the oldest man to trek on foot to the North Pole, and has tried to climb Mt Everest three times.

Ms Curzon says the actor is well remembered by an older generation, but was also becoming “retro cool” to suit younger audiences.

More by Victoria Young

Comments and questions

Loved his role in Blackadder!!

See you at ANZ.

I think this campaign misses the mark. In fact I can't quite tell what 'the mark' even is in these ads.

Preliminary 82% rating on the stinkometer.

If ASB are hiring a 76-year-old actor, then it's reasonably certain they don't see this as a 10-year campaign like Goldstein. Or even a three- or five-year campaign.

Stop moaning will you!

When a bank exec uses the phrase "retro cool" in reference to young people, you don't really hold out much hope.

Here's a great, fresh, innovative idea, guys and girls! Let's hire an overseas actor for a long-term campaign! The story thread is to send him to NZ with a wonderfully booming UK regional accent, and bumble around our countryside doing things to sheep and learning the NZ way! Wry and droll story arcs for the next five years! (Note to self: look up meaning of "wry" and "droll.")

That is so new! So high concept! Bet nothing similar has ever been proposed to the ASB before....

Just what we don't need another shouting ad. Stand aside Harvey Norman - a new shouter is in town.

Oh stop being so grumpy. It's Brian Blessed! Laughing!

He was the best thing in Flash Gordon.

That sheep looked dead

Mmm... a caveman to front ASB? Something primal about this latest incarnation.

Well at least we do not have to fear our money - but agree 82% and increasing on the stinkometer

I love the ASB for what it does for me as a business owner and personal bank account holder. I would consider myself a valuable customer to have.
This advert campaign doesn't connect with me. It seems stodgy and not inspirational or the slightest bit amusing. To be fair I don't like the actor Brian Blessed but that aside, It doesn't make me feel proud to be an ASB customer watching this.
I wonder who their target is... not me obviously!

There must be several eco-systems thriving in that ol' codger's beard. Bet, that it's a hive of activity after he's chowed down his soup

90% of the target market won't even know who this guy is. Also ASB have already done the cheesy hammy character ads. So much for "fresh

Who makes banking decisions based on ads and gimmicks? Fools, money, parted etc.

dear oh dear.....

Caesar Augustus in I, Claudius!


I like it and no doubt Blessed will deliver some gems over the campaign - remember, Goldstein was a bit weird when he first hit the screens for ASB. Score 8/10.

What is with the banks using foreigners???

....not to mention a brilliant baritone, star of Cats and many Sadlers Wells operas and shows

I for one would be embarrassed to admit I'm an ASB customer after witnessing this add.. Sorry ASB but this is a colossal f*** up!

What the f ***!
These are a waste of space and an embarrassment.
Not where you want to place your hard-earned dollars.

Why are bank adverts so incredibly boring. Are they scared to put good looking young women on them?

I don't watch TV so I'm missing nuffink! But given the above comments, ASB's strategy is obviously effective. Love it or hate it, they are getting the attention they want. .. and you're paying for it, which is why I don't watch tvee hee hee heee