Barclaycard: Do Katherine Ryan TV ads sink or swim?

barclaycardComedian and presenter Katherine Ryan is the latest “celebrity” to try to convince consumers to sign up for a Barclaycard in a new campaign from Droga5 London which shows how customers can avoid unnecessary charges when paying for goods on holiday.
It follows on from the TV push fronted by Simon Cowell, which promoted the brand’s repayment calculator tool.
The new activity, running across social, digital out-of-home, owned media and PR, features two executions, with Ryan supposedly making “common” holiday blunders.
The first spot sees Ryan relaxing on an inflatable toucan in a pool, offering holiday financial tips. The toucan, however, has a hole and gradually deflates as the ad plays.
Ryan points out how she made the wrong choice, adding that when customers use their Barclaycard abroad, they can choose to pay in local currency or in sterling. She advises to always pay the local currency or face possible higher charges. The film ends with the line: “Travel smart. Start today.”
In another ad, Ryan is seen whacking on too much suntan lotion, while explaining how the protection this offers is similar to section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This offers consumers protection for purchases made on a credit card up to a certain amount.
And it seems that Barclaycard marketing director Alex Naylor is pretty keen on the campaign. He gushes: “We are really excited to work with top talent and deliver real media firsts – to help engage with customers about important travel spending tips. We’re thrilled that Katherine has collaborated with us on this campaign. Thanks to her trademark comedy style, she has helped bring the key messages to life in a hilarious way.”
Mind you, he was also “thrilled” when the Cowell campaign launched, saying: “We’re thrilled that one of the world’s most recognisable and popular businessmen has collaborated with us for this campaign.”
So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office? Does Katherine bring the key Barclaycard messages to life in a “hilarious way”? Do we feel engaged about important travel tips? Will we be rushing online to apply for a Barclaycard so we have a better – and cheaper – holiday?
Well, even though everyone loves to save some cash, we do recognise this isn’t exactly the easiest of briefs.
But is it hilarious? Er, sadly not. In fact it barely raises a smile. Now, we like Katherine Ryan, and by all accounts she certainly went down well at last year’s DMA Awards (apparently she even made DMA boss Chris Combemale blush), but somehow we don’t think she had much input into this script. It is simply too wordy…
Then again, the Simon Cowell ad was equally unfunny, despite one magazine’s assertion that it was “brilliant”.
And, to be honest, these ads are not a patch on BMP DDB’s Rowan Atkinson Barclaycard campaign in the early Nineties.

Decision Marketing Adometer: 4 out of 10

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