It’s not every day you see someone strutting around in a three-stripe suit, decked out in the colours of a credit card. But back in the 1970s, it wasn’t such an unlikely sight thanks to a wide-reaching campaign promoting the use of Barclaycard. The eye-catching outfit became something of an iconic feature of ads such as the one below from 1973.
Launched in 1966, the nation’s ‘first credit card’ was supported by large-scale advertising. As Barclays’ Group Archivist, Maria Sienkiewicz, explains: “Bank advertising really took off in the 1960s – up until then, banking had been terribly restrained and the banks wouldn’t have dreamt of competing openly for customers or staff.”
In the following decade, to help put Barclaycard on the map, the brand’s marketers needed a bit of bold thinking – and even bolder tailoring.
Official records from the Barclays archive describe the suit in delightful detail: “Blue, cream and yellow Barclaycard suit jacket and trousers. Polyester blend. Double-breasted suit jacket with cream lining. Unlined trousers with slight flare. 'Arthur Davey theatrical tailor' label within trousers. Cream 'Austin Reed' silk and polyester tie. Blue, cream and yellow padded flat cap with black plastic visor and removable white plastic badge with paper Barclaycard insert.”
The suit wasn’t confined to star turns in ad campaigns, however. It was also the uniform for the Barclays marketing teams who would be sent out onto the streets with placards, giveaways and promotional materials. Whatever the reaction, they certainly would have stood out from the crowd.