Credit card brand Barclaycard is no stranger to comedic advertising (some of its best-known ads have featured comedian Rowan Atkinson of Mr. Bean, Blackadder and Johnny English fame).
But it takes a less conventional approach to humor in its new campaign, the first work out of Droga5 London for the brand--by playfully making fun of some real-life customers.
Its new spot, directed by Jeff Low of Biscuit, profiles a real-life British company called The Crystal Barn and plays up the hippy-style wackiness of it all for all its worth. Owners Clare and Andy talk about their crystals infomercial-style over mystical music and sparkly graphics: when her descriptions of the healing power of the crystals are cut with his descriptions of the road directions, it all gets even more hilarious. However, there is a serious point: that Barclaycard "takes business seriously" (the implication being, even if it's nuts).
A company spokesperson explains: “Barclaycard supports businesses of all shapes and sizes; whether they’re selling coffee or healing crystals. Our playful new integrated advertising campaign, ‘We Take Business Seriously,’ showcases the diverse range of real businesses that we work with and The Crystal Barn is the first in a series of businesses that we’ll be profiling throughout the year. We’re proud to partner with ambitious businesses of all kinds, and look forward to shining a light on more of our customers.”
“Beyond the great idea that the agency had, and the bravery of a financial client to try something a bit more daring than the usual yawn we get from that sector, there is Clare and Andy of the Crystal Barn," says director Low. "They were absolutely magical to work with and adapted better than some professional actors I've worked with. Whatever we've accomplished here we owe to Clare and Andy.”
“In demonstrating that Barclaycard Business takes all their customers seriously we were charged to help give the Crystal Barn an ad with a layer of polish and professionalism they may not have been able to otherwise create themselves," adds Rupert Reynolds-MacLean, managing director of Biscuit U.K. "Hopefully Clare and Andy are happy with the results.”
We hope they are too, as the campaign does seem to teeter on the edge of being patronizing to the likes of their company. But its an unusual approach that should get viewers talking and revive the Barclaycard brand's reputation for humor for a new generation.