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The bank that's hoping to cash in on our Ashley (After it withdrew
[May 13, 2007]

The bank that's hoping to cash in on our Ashley (After it withdrew

(The Mail on Sunday Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) IT may be a national institution, but the Bank of Scotland has struggled to appeal to customers north of the Border following its high-profile merger with English rival Halifax.

But now, after pouring money into costly and much criticised adverts, it has begun a campaign to recover its Scottish identity.

It has created a home-produced TV commercial featuring 37-year-old Ugly Betty star Ashley Jensen and a make-believe Scot named Brian.

The advert, which makes its debut on STV tonight, is the first the bank has filmed north of the Border for several years and comes after its bespectacled star Howard Brown was dumped for irritating Scots clients.

It features Brian of Stirling - a play on the bank's initials BOS - and uses his dog to advertise rates. The commercial, which includes the voice of Dumfriesshire-born Jensen, was written by a team from Edinburgh, filmed by a Glasgow production company and shot on location around Stirling.

The advert comes three months after parent company HBOS infuriated customers by lavishing a huge budget on an advert filmed in South Africa with a cast of 400.

Although it features three real members of the bank's staff who work in the west of Scotland, their names are being kept secret.

Bosses are worried about making employees stars again after admitting 'mistakes had been made' in using Birmingham staff member Howard in ads north of the Border. He had originally appeared on screen with colleague Angela Anderson, from

Glasgow. However, their dream pairing ended when Scottish customers complained Howard was too irritating.

Last night, a bank spokesman said: 'It is a light-hearted ad that plays on the initials of Bank of Scotland.'

Copyright 2007 The Mail on Sunday.

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