Cannes Lions

Barclaycard Business (Long Term Brand Build)


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Barclaycard Payments own over 26 million customer relationships in the UK, from big corporate clients like Apple or ASOS to independent high street businesses operating all over the great British high streets. Their mission is to help small and medium British enterprises take and make payments and, in doing so, champion independent businesses across the country.

But three years ago they faced a bit of a challenge.

Competition from exciting new fintechs like iZettle, Square or Shopify was eating their lunch. The brand was coming across as old-fashioned and undifferentiated and it was becoming invisible in an increasingly more competitive category.

Our task was to reconnect Barclaycard with small businesses across the country and give them a reason to choose us. To do so, we had to raise awareness for the brand and drive new customers acquisition.


Writing for financial services is usually an attempt to appear warm and approachable without boring viewers to death. Ironically, the harder banks try to sound authentic, the less they do. So we decided to amuse small business owners by writing conventional testimonials which end with a smug line about how everything’s resolved. But just as we wind up, we’re interrupted by someone who takes the conversation away from the world of advertising and down a very different avenue. Viewers wonder where all this is going, until a moment in the dialogue snaps the protagonist back into ‘ad mode’ and they turn back to camera, without skipping a beat, to tell us how there’s even more Barclaycard can do for their business. And the final line explains the reason - the payment part is just the start


Despite our competition looking sexy and fresh, when it came to communication, there was nothing really new about them. Uptight, cliched, generic.

So we asked ourselves: why does B2B have to be so serious? If anything, culture is showing us the opposite. Business is sexy. Business is entertaining. Business stories are blockbuster in culture.

This was our opportunity to make Barclaycard the UK’s most relevant business payment brand. Rather than playing to the tropes of B2B communication, we would treat business like culture would and appeal to business owners as people.

People who, like anyone else, would rather engage with content that feels entertaining and humorous rather than dull and corporate.


During our three year relationship with Barclaycard Payments from 2019-2022 we have delivered five integrated campaigns across a wide spectrum of media including TV, VOD, social, OOH, Press and Radio.

All campaigns have run nationally in the UK and included multiple executions in line with our always-on media strategy.

To be true to our approach of treating business like culture would, we also created a new channel able to capture the audience we wanted: Barclaycard’s very first Podcast.

The decision to call it Figureheads and leave it unbranded also reflected our desire to create a piece of entertainment that wouldn’t feel like hard sell. The podcast was launched in January 2021 and ended up landing a spot in Apple’s ‘New & Noteworthy’ featured section and received earned promotion from other platforms such as PodBible and CastBox.


In over three years, our platform disrupted the tone of B2B financial communication, bringing humour and entertainment to Barclaycard Payments storytelling.

While the stories we told evolved to respond to changing times and unexpected disruption, our brand voice remained consistent and distinctive, helping us build a brand that now ranks at #1 in the payment category.

Brand awareness increased 32% and brand consideration also went up 23%.

And each campaign turbo-charged account acquisition too, recruiting new businesses. For Barclaycard Payments

In year 1, Crystal Barn and Upside Down House delivered +36% sales YOY.

And in Year 2, Coffee Shop and Gym landed + 23% sales YoY.

In a market crowded with fintechs and cool startups, we proved to UK business owners that a hundred year old bank could keep up with culture and entertain them.

And in doing so, we kept them on our side.

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