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The festive posters of the UK’s first credit card – launched in 1966 – have become advertising classics, reinforcing Barclaycard as being at the heart of British shopping – especially over the busy Christmas period. Here are some of the most memorable early examples from the Barclays Group Archives.

1. ‘Relax…’ (1969)

This advert dating from 1969 shows a couple relaxing with coffee having wrapped up their Christmas shopping with Barclaycard – while in the background, other shoppers continue their search for the perfect gift. The image is packed with examples of the fashions that defined the late ‘swinging sixties’ –including wide lapels, kinky boots and generous sideburns.

2. Problem people (1967)

“Read this picture carefully” says this 1967 advert. The design features a range of potential Christmas present ideas, all of which can “be bought with your Barclaycard”, making finding the right present for those “problem people” on your list a whole lot easier. Some of the gifts on display would still be welcome on Christmas lists in 2016 – the hinted-at riding lessons, classic perfume or model cars perhaps. Others viewed as cutting edge at the time – the black-and-white TV, car radio or mystery kitchen gadget – would no doubt be replaced by smartphones, games consoles and virtual reality goggles in a modern-day version of the ad.

3. Illustrated Xmas (1968)

This festive advert from 1968 exhibits a smorgasbord of illustrated present ideas in a bold, eye-catching design, seemingly influenced by the psychedelic art that flourished in the latter part of the decade. Interspersed between the miscellaneous items – a tie for dad, perfume for mum, scooter and model boat for the little ones – are images of Barclaycard and reminders that it “Makes Shopping Simpler”.

4. Furry mittens and more (1968)

Playing on the familiar Christmas carol, this leaflet spells out the cornucopia of festive purchases you can make with a Barclaycard. The essentials, the unnecessary, the unwanted, the unused – and a partridge in a pear tree.

5. Humbug! (1969)

From a 1969 campaign, this striking poster portrays Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ novella ‘A Christmas Carol’. Adopting his classic catchphrase “Humbug”, it plays on the fictional money-lender’s miserly tendencies. The advert reads: “Don’t use your cash to buy Christmas presents – use your Barclaycard”. It was thought that Scrooge’s trademark scowl would stand out amongst the more traditional cheery Santas and jolly elves. Many would argue it still does.

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