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F*cking Barclays: A Creative Hijack Of A Disgraced Brand

As a banking giant faces a deepening scandal, it gets a new ad campaign that looks and sounds almost like the real thing.

Let’s go back a year to that series of TV adverts from Barclays created by agency BBH—you remember the ones with British comedian Stephen Merchant giving seemingly improvised, approachable commentary over visual interpretations of Barclays’ services. Let’s focus on this one here:

Ring a bell? Great! Now, give this a watch:

If you’re following the international scandal unfolding with Barclays and a handful of other giant banks, you’d understand the source of British writer/comedian Michael Spicer’s rage in this spot-on spoof. If not, we’ll go through exactly what he’s on about:

1) The London interbank offered rate (LIBOR): Considered one of the most crucial interest rates in finance, it’s the average rate at which banks lend to each other, and the benchmark for numerous financial instruments such as credit cards, mortgages, and student loans. The "EURIBOR" is its euro equivalent.

2) The "unspeakably duplicitous shitbag snakefuck" manipulating the LIBOR: Barclays was fined a record-breaking $450 million by U.S. and British agencies for rigging the rate for the benefit of its bottom line.

3) Bob Diamond’s payoff: Once labeled as the "unacceptable face of banking" in 2010 by then-Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, Bob Diamond recently stepped down as CEO of Barclays in the wake of the fixing scandal and amid further outrage over receiving a reported £17m (about $26 million) severance package.

Unfortunately, all of the above is merely scratching the surface of what’s bound to be discovered as regulators continue to probe the case, but it’s surely enough to make an excellent brand hijack campaign that gives the institution a new real-world tag line: "Barclays. Fucking Barclays."

Spicer’s spoof, like the recent Shell campaign covered here, does a great job of appropriating a brand’s own trying-hard-to-be-human marketing persona for a hacked ad that could almost be real.

The web video is only the latest instance of amateur ad creatives’ reinterpretations of Barclays’ message. A poster advertising Barclays’ ill-gotten rates appears below and a less subtle commentary on the brand as a whole appears in the image above the article.

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3 Comments

  • Dustin Macbride

    Mr. Spicer has been ordered to drop the video on grounds of copyright.  Though it might still be available on Vimeo!

  • Bored of it already

    typical hysterical reaction to what we already know about this insidious industry