In the truest sense, this insert for Barclaycard couldn’t be called my best shot. It’s my most persistent.

In the truest sense, this insert for Barclaycard couldn’t be called

my best shot. It’s my most persistent.

It first appeared in 1989 when I was an art director at Option One, with

Barclaycard as a major client.

As a piece of creative work, it’ s not my finest hour. No location shoot

dangling out of a helicopter. No beautifully crafted labour of love,

printed on handmade paper. No hot-metal type. Not much at all.

What Joe Public gets is a simple, loose insert dropping out of his

colour supplement. The shot is as simple as it gets, with a Barclaycard

overlaying a garage bill. The line reads: ’The ultimate shock absorber.’

Inside there are a couple of trannies, a bit of body copy and an

application form the size of a small Caribbean island.

The problem is that ever since it first ran in 1989, it’ s been dropping

out of all sorts of magazines and newspapers with alarming


(The current design for the card has even been comped in over the

original card.)

It’ s not that I hate it or anything. Just that it’ s still working.

Still pulling, I assume, like the proverbial express train. Barclaycard

obviously tests other creative executions against it and, for all I

know, it may have been beaten. But it’ s still there on the edge of my

peripheral vision, reminding me that the simplest ideas are the most


It’ s even taken on a legendary perspective with the people who worked

on the account. Tony Watson, who was the account director and is now one

of the managing partners here at Lowe Direct, claims to have come up

with the ’ultimate shock absorber’ line. However, my writer at the time,

Caroline Cooper, hotly disputes this. Funny how an unassuming piece of

creative still stirs up such debate. Perhaps I’ m not the only one who

would say it’ s his best shot.

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