John Cleese in new Bankwest ad – The opposite of being mugged by a robot

Comedian John Cleese is the new face of Bankwest in a new series of ads created by Host.

Four spots, co-written by the Monty Python star, highlight ways Bankwest makes banking easier.

Cleese plays a cynical customer gradually won over by Bankwest staff member Katie.

Host ECD Bob Mackintosh said: “Hearing that John liked the idea and was keen to be in the campaign was great. Learning that he actually wanted to write the scripts with us was even better.

Paul Vivian, Bankwest GM of cstomer communications and brand said: “This is an important evolution for our brand as we focus in on what truly matters to our customers – making their banking easier for them.”

The campaign marks a move away from the bank’s long running campaign featuring various talking animals.

The ads were directed by Aaron Stoller, through prodcution company Revolver.


Client: Bankwest
Agency: Host Sydney
Media Agency: Ikon


  • ECD: Bob Mackintosh
  • ECD: Julian Watt
  • Associate Creative Director: Will Miles
  • Broadcast Production Director: Kaija Wall
  • Account Management Gareth Pask, Bel Hissey, Karen Martin, Laura Aldington.
  • Planning: Frank Bethel, Tobey Duncan
  • Production:
  • Production Company: Revolver
  • Director: Aaron Stoller
  • Producer: Pip Smart
  • DOP: Russell Boyd
  • Editor: Bernard Gary
  • Photographer: Chris Searl

A previous Bankwest campaign featuring a talking bird:


  1. Neville
    7 Jul 14
    3:15 pm

  2. painful. both the execution and that impoverished divorcee Cleese must resort to this to pay his bills

    for “Hearing that John liked the idea and was keen to be in the campaign was great. Learning that he actually wanted to write the scripts with us was even better”

    read “the more we offered him the more John liked the idea – although the scripts needed a rewrite because we didn’t nail the Basil Fawlty persona ourselves”

  3. Daz
    7 Jul 14
    3:56 pm

  4. Neville, you must be a riot at parties? What has Cleese being a divorcee got anything to do with it? Just because his personal life is common knowledge, it has no bearing whatsoever on the effectiveness or not, of the ads. What’s the matter? Did he snub you an autograph 50 years ago when he was loaded?

  5. Fencesitter
    7 Jul 14
    4:00 pm

  6. Neville: if was ok for ING and Billy Connolly why not for JC and Bankwest? What’s the difference?

  7. Ben
    8 Jul 14
    10:15 am

  8. Fency – I think its the sacrilege of Cleese, more of a tv icon than Billy. Still a poor ad

  9. Philbert
    9 Jul 14
    7:46 pm

  10. A good ad. Gets the attention. Cleese fans young and old will identifiy with it.
    Cleese verbalises what most of us customers think. Don’t dodge the issue – say what you think and get the response you need. Very effective. Beats the pants off the usual stuffy bank ads.

  11. Silky
    13 Jul 14
    10:31 pm

  12. Bankwest is actually my preferred bank, but to have John Cleese (who I also admire as a great comic mind, but has he ever banked in Australia and why would he give a rats?) as a supposed Bankwest client makes no sense and just makes me think Bankwest is wasting money on stupid ad campaigns that have no effect – other than to make me cross that they are cutting into my entertainment time- no matter who the actor is. What was the message? I have forgotten as I was so cross that John Cleese was in the ad.

  13. nick
    28 Jul 14
    7:12 pm

  14. C’mon, very lazy creative work and mediocre acting. I hate the notion that we need an old pompous British hasbeen whingeing about banking. we are a nation of early adopters after all and comfortable with new technology and the idea that you pay for what you get. Bankwest are seriously having the wool pulled over their eyes and told it will work and sold something very expensive. Sucked in. I find it bordering on offensive to visit the bankwest website daily and see him standing here confronting the ‘teller’ or customer service person. I don’t think many customers will relate to him or this campaign. Epic fail.