’It’s been a bloody long week,’ Graham Leigh, marketing director
for Barclays’ new direct banking company, b2, confides.
He’s not only been involved in the launch of the outfit, but also its
first product, the Advanced Savings Account. The account enables
customers to invest on the stock exchange with a proportion of the
savings being spent on protection against falls in share price.
Leigh admits that the company is facing an uphill struggle in persuading
people to change their saving habits. ’Investing has become synonymous
with gambling and research has shown that people don’t have the
confidence to invest money elsewhere,’ he says.
In contrast, he wants b2 to avoid the usual structure of financial
advertising - no technical jargon and no facts and figures. Banks
Hoggins O’Shea launched the TV campaign last week with a series of
teasers featuring the new company logo (Campaign, 8 May). A further 20
commercials will air in peak viewing time from next week, beginning with
three ten-second spots. TBWA Payne Stracey will take the campaign into
The campaign aims to communicate the ASA idea to consumers without
giving the hard sell. Indeed there is very little dialogue in the TV
work - and no mention of Barclays. The ads were shot in the Bahamas and
focus on the blue sky and sea, the colour most associated with the
The actor, Richard E. Grant, was chosen because ’people see him as a
self-made man who is prepared to speak his mind; he is quirky but the
whole thing is different so it works’, according to Leigh.
Leigh is also aware that consumers will require pointers on paper and
the TV work will be backed by a substantial press campaign.
Both are direct response.
Leigh has a solid background in the financial sector and speaks
eloquently on his subject. He is friendly, enthusiastic and is evidently
buzzing after his work on the campaign. Time will tell whether his charm
is infectious enough to convince the public.