ITV 50 Years of Fame: Private view - Barclays

Now, here's a good trivia question - what links Eric Sykes, Samuel L Jackson and Bobby Robson? They've all helped to promote Barclays - along with Peter Sellers, Robbie Coltrane, Donald Sutherland, Anthony Hopkins, and many more.

While banks have tinkered with celebrity endorsement over the years, none has been so dedicated to the cause as Barclays, with the earliest example here featuring Eric Sykes and Derek Guyler (2). Although the treatment is dated and slow by today's standards, it still works - mainly because there's a real customer proposition to be brought to life: the ease and convenience of Barclays ATMs.

What the grey suits of 30 years ago would have made of the Samuel L Jackson campaign heaven only knows - apoplectic fits all round, at minimum (5).

The contrast between Sykes and the Hollywood star could scarcely be greater.

And the homely, gentle humour of the first is certainly a lot more accessible than the enigmatic SLJ campaign.

But the first targeted the mass market, while the Jackson campaign was aimed at a more sophisticated audience of the affluent and opinion formers.

The underlying message that Barclays has expertise in money certainly cut through; and whether you got it or not, it certainly stood out.

For most people, banking is an extremely low interest category, and celebrities garner attention. The trick is to turn the noise into the right kind of customer engagement and action, via a strong customer proposition. How sad, therefore, that such a talented actor as Anthony Hopkins was used in an ad that attracted negative reaction (4). "Big world" coincided with a major branch closure programme and a charging scandal. Wonderfully shot and with terrific production values, the ad unfortunately reinforced a perception that banks were big and customers small and unimportant, and was pulled.

"Futureworld" - inspired by the movie Blade-runner - was ahead of anything else in bank advertising at the time (3).

What a shame that the wonderful, nightmarish and prophetic vision of the future morphs into the mundane interior of a Barclays branch - and evaporates along with the dry ice that must have been one of the costliest elements of the production. Still, it was a stunning piece of film that helped drive Barclays to the top of the spontaneous awareness league table at the time.

In "veterans' trip", the bank tried out the comparatively untested territory of emotional values by using true customer stories (1). This execution, created by the incomparable Bob Stanners and Norman Icke, was a beautiful piece of film. The campaign was showing signs of beginning to bite, but 1992 dawned and Barclays lost money for the first and only time in its history. TV was pulled and the campaign was never resurrected. Shame.

Finally and most recently, Barclays needed to raise awareness of its Premiership sponsorship (6). This is a great example of how to link celebrities with a relevant proposition - namely that Barclays understands how the average football fan relates to their club. Hundreds of wannabe Bobby Robsons walk to the game, while sprinkled among them are "manager" fans - Ferguson, Wenger and so on, adding texture and intrigue to the spot.

1. BARCLAYS Title: Veterans' trip Agency: Leo Burnett Year: 1991 2. BARCLAYS Title: Eric and Derek Flying Scotsman Agency: Collett Dickensen Pearce Year: 1978 3. BARCLAYS Title: Futureworld Agency: Yellowhammer Year: 1986 4. BARCLAYS Title: Big world Agency: Leagas Delaney Year: 2000 5. BARCLAYS Title: Pig Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty Year: 2002 6. BARCLAYS Title: Bobby Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty Year: 2004