Moore, Cook, Sellers, Atkinson & Barclays

When I think of Barclaycard adverts, I invariably think of either Alan Whicker, or Rowan Atkinson. But Barclays has a longer history of using comedians in their commercials than I realised. Here’s Dudley Moore in 1981, playing a punk rocker who has run out of cash.

And here he is playing a sort of version of Dud …

At the turn of the decade, in 1980, Barclays asked Peter Sellers to front the campaign about their various bank accounts.

This was the last filmed work of the actor, and when he died in July of that year, the adverts were removed from air, and re-shot with Peter Cook.

We’ve looked at the run of ads with Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender before, but it’s worth another look. I wonder what legal loopholes had to be navigated to use the Mainwaring name and the Stupid Boy catchphrase.

Then we come to the Atkinson ones. We all know they’re the precursor to the Johnny English movies, but in the ads he plays a character called Richard Latham.

This campaign ran from 1991 to 1997, and was made by BMP DDB. There were 17 adverts in total. For such a succesful branding, it all came to a rather abrupt halt at Christmas of 1997.

Barclaycard, which spends pounds 15m a year on advertising through BMP DDB, denied it was ending its relationship with Atkinson because of his association as Mr Bean with M&M’s, but sources close to the company suggest it was unhappy that Atkinson was no longer exclusive to Barclaycard. Atkinson was retained on a rolling one-year contract with Barclaycard and signed for a further year in May.

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