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
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.