Big brands can fall far further

So what’s the big idea Barclays (George Pitcher, MW April 13)? To own “big” and associate it with strength? “Big boy” “big day” “big picture”, and the like? “Big” deal.

What about “big banana”, “big girl’s blouse”, “big cock-up” or “Big Ron” – one of the “biggest” managerial failures of recent UK soccer history?

How about “Mr Big” the faceless capo who orchestrates the “big scam”. Or Ronnie Biggs, the “Mr Big” of the biggest heist in the annals of crime who did a “big bunk” from Wandsworth as the result of a “big bungle” by Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

How about “big-head”, “big shot”, “big mouth”, “too big for your boots”, “big fuss over nothing” – or “Big Horn” (historians seem to have dropped the prefix “little” as inadequate when describing the colossal error of military judgement that led to Custer’s last stand).

Or even “big fees”, “big egos”, “big brother”. Oh, but I almost forgot. You’re already making a “big song and dance” about that in your latest brand campaign – to rank alongside Gerald Ratner, Pepsi Blue and the demise of News at Ten as the “biggest own goal in UK marketing history”. Come on Barclays, you know as well as I do a brand strategy built on big is not “big” and it’s not clever. Because (as has been widely reported out there in the “big wide world”) you’re awarding “big bonuses” to your own executive directors, making “big” branch closures and “big” redundancies on the back of them and penalising other banks’ cashpoint customers with “big” charges.

And all at a time when electronic communication (into which you are sinking “big” money at the moment) is ironically making the world smaller, not “bigger”.

Well, as they say “the bigger they come…”

Dan Douglass

Creative director


London W1N

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