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.