NEWS: Publicis set for Mercantile Credit win

Publicis is poised to pick up the pounds 3 million task of relaunching Mercantile Credit, the personal loans subsidiary of Barclays Bank.

Publicis is poised to pick up the pounds 3 million task of relaunching

Mercantile Credit, the personal loans subsidiary of Barclays Bank.



Paul Parmenter, Mercantile Credit’s marketing director, said the company

was likely to make an announcement next week. But industry sources say

Publicis is the likely choice.



Despite its late entry into the contest, Publicis is believed to have

been given the nod ahead of McCann-Erickson and Leagas Shafron Davis,

which also pitched for the business last week against the Brahm agency

in Leeds, incumbent on the account since September 1994.



Mark Robinson, the Publicis new-business director, was unable to confirm

the win as Campaign went to press.



The review comes six months after the arrival of Parmenter, who worked

previously for Walkers snack foods and Olympus Sport. He aims to bring

a more hard-edged approach to Mercantile Credit’s marketing.



It coincides with efforts by the client to move upmarket and

differentiate itself in an increasingly competitive loans market, where

the battle has been joined by new players such as Direct Line Insurance.



Mercantile Credit has traditionally had a downmarket image as a result

of its high interest charges, which have attracted too many high-risk

customers and too much bad debt.



Now it plans to shed its downmarket appeal and bring its offering more

closely into line with those of Masterloan and Barclayloan, which are

available only to Barclays customers.



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