Barclaycard puts 15m ad account up for review

Barclaycard is reviewing its 15m advertising account after nine years at BMP DDB. It now faces tough competition from new entrants to the UK market which offer lower interest rates and free membership.

Four agencies – Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, WCRS and incumbent BMP – have been shortlisted. A decision is expected by the end of October.

Paul Parmenter, marketing director at Barclaycard, cites the Rowan Atkinson TV campaign and the current “Don’t put it off…Put it on” push as highlights of BMP’s nine year stint.

“However, looking forward to 1999, it is clear that this is an ideal time for Barclaycard to consider some new thinking and ideas,” he adds.

Inside sources say Barclaycard, which charges 22.9 per cent APR (interest rate) and a 10 annual fee, is under intense pressure from new entrants – including the supermarket banks, Amex Blue Card, Goldfish, and US-based MBNA. They offer APR rates as low as 9.9 per cent (Amex Blue) and customers are starting to shop around.

Media for Barclaycard is not being reviewed and will stay with BMP Optimum.

BBH and AMV are also battling it out for the $40m (25m) Visa International account – Barclaycard is a member bank of the Visa association. The two agencies are competing against J Walter Thompson and incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi.

In a separate move, Barclaycard is launching its flagship card, Barclaycard Visa, in France as part of an attack on the European credit-card market.

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