Newcomers may be funkier or cheaper, but with a 25 per cent share
of the UK credit card market and 34 years’ experience under its belt,
Barclaycard still has a major advantage over its competitors.
And the company is pressing home this advantage with a new advertising
campaign starring the sharp-witted television personal-ity Angus
Paul Parmenter, the marketing director of Barclaycard, believes that the
latest campaign will take the brand to a ’new, higher level’.
Barclaycard has returned to the celebrity endorsement route after
flirting with a more generic campaign. ’We wanted the brand to be the
hero,’ Parmenter says. ’And through Angus it is witty, stylish,
confident, intelligent and appeals to everyone.’
In such a crowded market, the emphasis is also on understanding the
competition and keeping on your toes. It is not enough to have a
You need to cut through at every level and Parmenter believes that
Deayton is the man to do it.
The company has used celebrity endorsements for most of the past 20
years. Dudley Moore, Alan Whicker and, most famously, Rowan Atkinson
have all been part of the changing face of Barclaycard.
And Barclaycard has had to change. Parmenter insists it is no longer the
expensive, safe option - its rates have to be at least half-way
competitive to fend off the assault from discount credit cards.
But safety is still paramount. ’Barclaycard is distinguished by trust
and reassurance,’ Parmenter says. ’A credit card is not a financial
instrument to be taken lightly. It requires thought and a relationship.
We also have a tremendous range of offers because our job is to make
sure that consumers find what they want with us.’
The first of the new executions addresses the issue of safety on the
internet. Parmenter says: ’Our role is to take away the mystery and
anxiety. Only a minority of people are prepared to shop online and our
guarantee against fraud is a powerful statement.’
Parmenter’s first campaign for Barclaycard was Atkinson’s last, in
He was responsible for putting BMP DDB through its paces and forcing the
agency to repitch for the pounds 15 million account against Bartle Bogle
Hegarty, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and WCRS in 1998.
It took a pitch to eliminate the ’Don’t put it off. Put it on
Barclaycard’ line with which the agency had replaced the Atkinson
series. Next up came ’one card, a million uses’ - a strategy that
Parmenter still supports but felt needed the added bite provided by the
’It’s a classic Barclaycard script,’ he says of the new travel-themed
commercial, in which Deayton travels with just a toothbrush, a passport
and his Barclaycard.
Parmenter is also delighted that Larry Barker, BMP’s creative director,
wrote the scripts himself and that John Lloyd, director of the original
Atkinson spots, was brought back for the campaign.
There is a sense that Parmenter enjoys the buzz of being around
well-known personalities but never any suggestion that his priority is
anything other than doing the best he can for Barclaycard.