Rowan Atkinson/Mars deal sparks storm at Barclaycard

Comedian Rowan Atkinson is to appear in advertisements featuring Mars confectionery brands, despite having an exclusive agreement to appear only in ads for Barclaycard.

Atkinson will be seen in an ad which publicises his film Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, but which will also feature Mars’ products. Mars will produce the ad, which will be created by its agency Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO.

Mars has secured a product placement deal with the producers of the film, which will see its brands – especially M&M’s – featured in the film. Mars has also signed a 24-month deal to promote the brand using the film character, and has rights to promotional tie-ins when the video is released.

Barclaycard is known to be extremely unhappy at the development though, officially, it will only say that it is “aware” of the deal. However, it has noted the commercial is linked to the film and Atkinson will not be appearing in any other commercials for Mars’ products.

The comedian has appeared in Barclaycard commercials through BMP DDB since 1991. Recent executions have been produced for the agency by Tiger Aspect, a production company of which Atkinson is a director.

Spinning out ads from products placed in films is becoming increasingly common. Apple Computer ran a series of ads featuring clips from the film Mission Impossible.

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