Publicis is poised to pick up the pounds 3 million task of relaunching
Mercantile Credit, the personal loans subsidiary of Barclays Bank.
Paul Parmenter, Mercantile Credit’s marketing director, said the company
was likely to make an announcement next week. But industry sources say
Publicis is the likely choice.
Despite its late entry into the contest, Publicis is believed to have
been given the nod ahead of McCann-Erickson and Leagas Shafron Davis,
which also pitched for the business last week against the Brahm agency
in Leeds, incumbent on the account since September 1994.
Mark Robinson, the Publicis new-business director, was unable to confirm
the win as Campaign went to press.
The review comes six months after the arrival of Parmenter, who worked
previously for Walkers snack foods and Olympus Sport. He aims to bring
a more hard-edged approach to Mercantile Credit’s marketing.
It coincides with efforts by the client to move upmarket and
differentiate itself in an increasingly competitive loans market, where
the battle has been joined by new players such as Direct Line Insurance.
Mercantile Credit has traditionally had a downmarket image as a result
of its high interest charges, which have attracted too many high-risk
customers and too much bad debt.
Now it plans to shed its downmarket appeal and bring its offering more
closely into line with those of Masterloan and Barclayloan, which are
available only to Barclays customers.