Client: Royal Bank of Scotland Advanta; Mark Austin, marketing
Campaign: launch of RBS Advanta Platinum Card
Agency: Payne Stracey
Timescale: January - May 1998
The RBS Advanta credit card brand was launched in February 1996 as a
joint venture between the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Advanta
Corporation, the 12th largest credit card operator in the US.
The brand had been very successful in its first two years, recruiting
more than 500,000 card holders from scratch. It has also been voted Best
Quality Credit Card two years running by a MORI survey of personal
RBS Advanta’s most recent brief to Payne Stracey was to introduce its
platinum credit card through direct marketing alone. The card was to be
positioned as an upmarket alternative to its existing classic and gold
cards, as aspirational yet affordable.
Focusing on a target audience of ABC1, predominantly male homeowners,
Payne Stracey developed a direct-marketing pack with the appearance of
an exclusive invitation.
It was mailed to customers culled from existing data on classic and gold
card holders. In addition, prospective customers were identified using
lifestyle databases bought in from CMT and NDL.
The tone of the materials was aspirational while trying to avoid being
snobbish by using language with integrity. The copy and visual elements
of the pack underlined the quality of life that its target audience
The flexibility that the card allows was conveyed by straplines such
as ’You never know when an impulse buy will turn out to be a master
stroke’, and ’The best things in life are always reserved’. Examples
included investing in attractive antiques and acquiring the best seats
for opera or theatre.
An accompanying letter provided the recipient with competitor card
interest rates and a summary of additional services they could
RBS Advanta declined to release exact figures but it is understood that,
six months after launch, the card is now the second largest platinum
card in Europe, after US bank MBNA’s Platinum Plus.
With a lack of advertising or sales promotion, this success has been
achieved entirely through DM and some public relations.