Client: Royal Bank of Scotland Advanta; Mark Austin, marketing manager

Client: Royal Bank of Scotland Advanta; Mark Austin, marketing


Campaign: launch of RBS Advanta Platinum Card

Agency: Payne Stracey

Timescale: January - May 1998

Budget: undisclosed

The Brief

The RBS Advanta credit card brand was launched in February 1996 as a

joint venture between the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Advanta

Corporation, the 12th largest credit card operator in the US.

The brand had been very successful in its first two years, recruiting

more than 500,000 card holders from scratch. It has also been voted Best

Quality Credit Card two years running by a MORI survey of personal

finance journalists.

RBS Advanta’s most recent brief to Payne Stracey was to introduce its

platinum credit card through direct marketing alone. The card was to be

positioned as an upmarket alternative to its existing classic and gold

cards, as aspirational yet affordable.

The Campaign

Focusing on a target audience of ABC1, predominantly male homeowners,

Payne Stracey developed a direct-marketing pack with the appearance of

an exclusive invitation.

It was mailed to customers culled from existing data on classic and gold

card holders. In addition, prospective customers were identified using

lifestyle databases bought in from CMT and NDL.

The tone of the materials was aspirational while trying to avoid being

snobbish by using language with integrity. The copy and visual elements

of the pack underlined the quality of life that its target audience

would expect.

The flexibility that the card allows was conveyed by straplines such

as ’You never know when an impulse buy will turn out to be a master

stroke’, and ’The best things in life are always reserved’. Examples

included investing in attractive antiques and acquiring the best seats

for opera or theatre.

An accompanying letter provided the recipient with competitor card

interest rates and a summary of additional services they could


The Result

RBS Advanta declined to release exact figures but it is understood that,

six months after launch, the card is now the second largest platinum

card in Europe, after US bank MBNA’s Platinum Plus.

With a lack of advertising or sales promotion, this success has been

achieved entirely through DM and some public relations.