NEWS: Simons wins British Gas card task

Simons Palmer has beaten Saatchi and Saatchi to land the multi-million- pound launch of the British Gas credit card, which is being created in partnership with an American bank, yet to be named.

Simons Palmer has beaten Saatchi and Saatchi to land the multi-million-

pound launch of the British Gas credit card, which is being created in

partnership with an American bank, yet to be named.



Manning Gottlieb Media has been appointed to handle the media, making it

the media independent’s biggest piece of business to date.



The new credit card will offer customers the opportunity to collect

bonus points, which can then be used as payment against British Gas

bills.



The launch is being billed as a financial services joint venture, which

will involve the creation of a number of new products. The identity of

the new company, which has been set up to run the venture, will be

revealed next week.



British Gas is launching the scheme in an attempt to attract customer

loyalty at a time when it is facing tremendous competition as a result

of deregulation in the market.



TSB was originally linked to the venture, but has since pulled out and

will not be involved in the launch.



Paul Simons, the managing director of Simons Palmer, confirmed that the

agency had been appointed by a new financial services joint venture, but

was unable to comment further.



The new card will face a tough task in a market that is heavily

influenced by status and lifestyle. An affinity with British Gas could

be difficult to sell to customers who have been exposed to publicity

about the company’s ‘fat cat’ salaries and who may prefer to be

associated with a car or a charity rather than a utility.



British Gas is launching into a highly competitive sector. Since the

Royal Bank of Scotland and the NSPCC launched the first affinity card in

the UK in 1990, increasing numbers of clients have set up loyalty

schemes



In the past six weeks, Tesco has launched a credit card with NatWest,

and Volkswagen has announced plans to set up a full banking operation

across Europe.



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