Arnold Schwarzenegger robot head appears in extremely strange PPI advert

It seems the British public can’t get enough of all things Terminator. Not only has ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ gone back to the top of the UK box office with its 3D cinema re-release, but we also have Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 as the unlikely star of a new TV commercial.

The ad from the Financial Conduct Authority features a robot head puppet modelled on Schwarzenegger, putting out the message about the upcoming deadline for making complaints about missold payment protection insurance.

Sounds hard to believe, but it’s for real, as you can see above.

Whichever marketing person dreamed this up needs a raise (credit: FCA)
Whichever marketing person dreamed this up needs a raise (credit: FCA)

The ad sees an animatronic version of Arnie’s head emerging unexpectedly in a shop, informing customers that they shouldn’t wait to find out whether they are owed PPI repayments, as the deadline to make such complaints lands in two years time, on 29 August 2019.

According to The Guardian, the FCA campaign created by the M&C Saatchi agency is costing £42 million, and is being paid for by the 18 banks and building societies with the most PPI complaints.

However, while Schwarzengger has been reimbursed for the use of his likeness, the Governator did not actually voice the creepy robot head in the ad. Instead, an Arnold impersonation was provided by David Brent (no, not that one; he’s a Canadian actor and comedian).

So, why such an outlandish approach? Well, it seems given the proliferation of nondescript TV ads (not to mention innumerable unwanted telephone calls) on the subject of PPI in recent years, the FCA knew their campaign needed to stand apart.

Emma Stranack, the FCA’s head of business and consumer communications, explains, “With this advertising campaign, our biggest challenge is cutting through the noise on PPI and we have created a campaign that is designed to do just that.

“We have undertaken extensive testing to ensure the creative idea was impactful and understood by our very broad target audience. The result is a suite of adverts that we are confident will help us achieve our campaign objectives.”

Yep – a weird-looking Arnold Schwarzenegger puppet head on tracks might very well make an impact.

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