Barclays plays down Barrett ‘Ratner’ jibes

Barclays has reacted defiantly to last week’s furore after group chief executive Matthew Barrett told a Treasury Select Committee that credit cards were too expensive.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Barclays deputy marketing and communications director Leigh Bruce says the bank will not change its marketing or “do anything special” to counter the extensive negative publicity that followed Barrett’s outburst.

Despite comparisons with Gerald Ratner’s description of his own jewellery as “crap”, Bruce claims to be encouraged by Barclays’ customers understanding of Barrett’s remarks.

Bruce says: “We will not make changes to our marketing plans. We do not chop and change even with a media misunderstanding like this.”

Bruce says that Barclaycard’s “F%rever” 0 per cent offer, which Barrett was unable to explain to MPs, would continue, despite being mocked in the press. He adds that Barrett’s comments are entirely consistent with Barclays’ “Fluent in finance” campaign and that no decision had been made about the use of Samuel L Jackson in its advertising after 2004.

Barclays’ announcement that Barrett will become chairman next year has been criticised by many in the City.

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