BMP DDB’s 15th Barclaycard ad goes on air this week, featuring Latham,
the bumbling special agent played by Rowan Atkinson, to promote
Barclaycard’s new tie-up with Cellnet mobile phones.
The ad opens with Latham and his rookie spy sidekick, Bough, in a
helicopter. Latham is sceptical about the benefits of a mobile phone,
scorning Bough, who is busy making a call to his mum.
The smug Latham chastises Bough for making personal calls on a
departmental mobile. But Bough reveals that he is using his own phone,
which he acquired through an ‘exclusive’ deal with Barclaycard and
Latham suggests that he means ‘expensive’, not ‘exclusive’, and when
Bough protests that his calls cost him less than the normal rate, Latham
counters: ‘That’s because anything you have to say is a lot less
Latham and Bough’s helicopter accidentally drops them on the top of the
wrong building in the City of London, leaving them with two scary-
looking and well-decorated foreign military men.
By the time they realise their mistake, the helicopter has taken off.
Latham flaps around wildly, trying in vain to attract the pilot’s
attention, while Bough casually seeks help by making a call on his
In keeping with the Barclaycard campaign, Latham is bailed out of a
difficult situation. This time a Cellnet phone comes to his rescue.
The ad was devised by the copywriter, Jon Matthews, and art directed by
Peter Gatley. The director was Mark Chapman through Tiger Aspect
Barclaycard’s promotion with Cellnet gives customers 20 per cent off
calls, the opportunity to earn Profile points from phone bills, and a
new service allowing customers to see their account details on the
display of their mobile phones.
BMP DDB won the pounds 12 million account in 1990, and since then its
Barclaycard campaign has won 19 awards at the Cannes International
Advertising Festival and the British Television Advertising Awards.