Barclaycard searches for ‘face’ to succeed Saunders

The future of Barclaycard “face” Jennifer Saunders is thought to be in doubt, with a potential line-up of alternative celebrities already being discussed.

The future of Barclaycard “face” Jennifer Saunders is thought to be in doubt, with a potential line-up of alternative celebrities already being discussed.

Saunders will continue to be used in the “short term”, although sources say she may be soon replaced. Head of brand strategy and advertising Paul Troy hinted at the Marketing Week TV 2006 conference last month in Rome that several names were already in the frame, but refused to divulge details.

The client has pledged to carry on using celebrities in its advertising and believes more brands will follow suit. Troy outlined his commitment to using celebrities at the conference and said that using them helped achieve “cut-through”.

Jennifer Saunders was drafted in last year to replace US actress Jennifer Aniston (MW July 7, 2005). She fronted a &£6m campaign that former head of brand Mike Hoban, now Scottish Widows marketing director, said marked a “return to form”, to the classic-style of the ads starring Rowan Atkinson.

New work created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty will break later this year. A Barclaycard spokesman said: “Jennifer is definitely in place at the moment. We haven’t taken any decision on where we go from there.”

Troy told the conference: “Our use of celebrity has been around for 20 years now and will be sustained in the digital age. We need higher levels of cut-through, and celebrity can play a role in that. In the future there will be more brands using celebrity to achieve that cut-through in a mass media world.”

He cited BBH’s advertising for the Lynx fragrance Click, which starred Hollywood actor Ben Affleck, saying that even such a “creative” client believed in the extra power of celebrity. MindShare Worldwide global director of consumer insight Sheila Byfield also believes the trend towards using famous faces will continue. She said that research in Spain across different advertising product categories showed that, on average, those ads using cele- brities had a recognition factor improved by 2% or more.

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