Hector the Tax Inspector

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Hector the Tax Inspector, also known as Hector the Taxman[1] was the advertising figurehead of the former British government taxation department, Inland Revenue and was originally intended to remind people to return their self-assessment tax returns on time.[2]

History[edit]

Hector was first used in 1995 as the advertising personality of self-assessment tax returns.[3] and also as a way to put a human face on the Inland Revenue.[4] He was voiced in television adverts by Alec Guinness.[5] It was believed that the usage of Hector helped Inland Revenue to reach their targets due to a rise in awareness of self-assessment tax returns which was attributed to Hector.[4] Hector eventually became so popular that he became associated with the whole Inland Revenue rather than just the self-assessment tax returns campaign.[6]

In 2001, Inland Revenue stopped using Hector in its advertising. The then head of Inland Revenue stated that the reason for dropping Hector was that he was "too white, too male and too middle aged to represent the Revenue" (though his voice actor died the year before anyway).[7] Hector was replaced in the Inland Revenue's advertising by Mrs Doyle from Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted.[7]

Public opinion[edit]

Merchandise to support Inland Revenue's advertising campaign featuring Hector was produced in large quantities.[4]

However, the character of Hector was not popular with Inland Revenue's staff, some of whom believed that Hector's image was not appropriate for the time.[1]

Impact[edit]

In 2011, supporters of Scottish association football club, Celtic started to use images and masks of Hector to insult supporters of their Old Firm rivals Rangers by referring to Rangers' tax problems with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hector the Taxman RIP". BBC News. 2001-01-10. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  2. ^ Wright, Melanie (2001-01-10). "Hector the inspector hangs up his bowler". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  3. ^ Claire Cozens (2001-07-16). "Inland Revenue ad". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  4. ^ a b c Lisa Campbell (1997-10-09). "ANALYSIS: Is Hector's house in order?". Marketing magazine. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  5. ^ "Inland Revenue to get make-over". BBC News. 2001-06-14. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  6. ^ Keith Perry (2001-01-10). "Taxman Hector gets early retirement". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  7. ^ a b "Inland Revenue considers name change". BBC News. 2001-07-17. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  8. ^ Carson, Alan (2011-09-12). "Hoops go on at-tax". The Scottish Sun. Retrieved 2012-03-19.