Cannes Lions

Barclays Code Playground


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In 2015 the British government recognised that understanding computer coding is an important skill for future success in the workplace. And so, the biggest upheaval for 14 years to the UK national curriculum took place - schools introduced the teaching of coding in the classroom.

In 2014 we had implemented ‘Digital Eagles’, a programme that trained the unemployed to help elderly people improve their digital skills.

Could we now make a positive difference to school kids who were just beginning their digital journey?

We created the Barclays Code Playground, a codeable website and real world training sessions in branch that give kids a head start by taking coding away from the formal environment of the classroom making it fun.

We knew that just directing kids to our Barclays Code Playground website would not allow us to engage enough of our audience in the act if coding.


We partnered with online publishers who own the spaces where kids want to be. We got them to integrate Code Playground on their (mobile) websites. We got kids coding on mobile phones, plus laptops and tablets.

Then we created the worlds first interactive, codable advertising and targeted it to parents’ handsets, with a view that its message would filter down to their children. This was done using technology which uses app detection to profile users based on the apps they have installed on their handsets.

We layered this with location targeted ads around Barclays branches, to encourage our audience to visit their local branch and book coding lessons for their children with the Barclays Digital Eagles team. This was key, since the campaign’s main aim was to increase consumer consideration and purchase intent.


Our Code Playgrounds were visited by nearly 400,000 kids, over 2,500 of them came back to play more than ten times each.

Children spent an average of three minutes on the Code Playground site and 2,467 of them got their parents to go into a branch of Barclays and book them coding lessons with the Digital Eagles.

Teachers started using the site in their own coding lessons.

Barclays Code Playground reached 218 million people - 210% of its target.

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