Adwatch Review: Barclays


LONDON - Tony Quinn, head of planning at JWT, reviews the Barclays TV ad which had the 13th highest recall with the public in this week's Adwatch.

I bank with Barclays. This is not because it offers a particularly natty brand of customer service or is really skilled at turning my meagre coppers into bundles of pretty green.

No, I bank with Barclays primarily because, when I was a student, it was considered wrong to do so.

I'm a bit like that. I nosed the brie last week for exactly the same reason. Something to do with being the youngest child, I suspect.

Anyway, because I bank with Barclays, I keep a particularly keen eye on what it's doing. It sort of makes sense to do so.

I've seen it go ‘Big' through Anthony Hopkins, ‘Fluent' through Samuel L Jackson and, more recently, ‘Small' through Stephen Merchant - a kind of banking Benjamin Button, methinks. How­ever, let's not confuse ‘small' with a paucity of ambition or a lack of vision; far from it.

If this spot is anything to go by, Barclays has clearly taken it upon itself to drop the smoke and mirrors, hyperbole and patronising tones of the past to single-handedly reposition banking. It has reinvented savings, for a start.

Basically, ‘new savings' goes something like this: you put your savings into Barclays and, if you promise not to touch it for a year or two, it guarantees there will be a fixed-term return waiting for you when you decide to take it out - about 2.25%, in fact.

Cor blimey, that is new. Savings that give you a small return if you leave it long enough? Amazing. Why didn't someone think of that sooner?

However, just in case such a banking-busting-breakthrough is too difficult for us to grasp, the lovely people at Barclays explain it through the simple medium of metaphor.

They literally plant pound coins in the ground and grow them, accomp­anied by the soothing tones of the aforementioned Merchant - I kid you not. I don't feel patronised.

By the way, I've measured the relative diameters of the coins that are planted versus those that are harvested, and on a basic annual projection, using the figures pub­lished, our savings would have to stay untouched for close to 4000 years.

Putting my flippant and deeply unpleasant sarcasm to one side, I really think this ad, and indeed campaign, is a missed opportunity.

What the banking industry needs now, arguably more than anything, is a leader. Not one who looks to wash its hands of the past (‘not me guv'), but one who looks forward, takes note of the changes and the lessons learned, holds integrity, honesty, profession­alism and transparency close to its heart, and who treats its customers with respect.

In that view, in my humble opinion, this spot falls well short. It's a shame, really.

I cycled through a red light this morning.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers