John, a Senior Marketing Manager who had joined the bank in 1954, was on site to ensure everything ran smoothly and that the creative aims were fulfilled. “It was my responsibility to make sure that it all went to plan – because once you’ve done it, you can’t do it again.”
The idea for the advert – to be used in newspapers – was to feature an unknown man’s bare legs, with the line: “Know the easiest way to make your legs more attractive? Wrap them in trousers you’ve bought with your Barclaycard.”
In the interview for a Barclays oral history project ten years after John’s retirement, he remembered: “We had this super, hunky model and they told him to strip off. David simply looked at his legs, and said: ‘Sorry, it's not going to work. This guy hasn't got the legs of the average man in the street. We want a more normal pair of legs.’”
This instigated a frantic search of the set for more “normal” legs, with several of the photography assistants and agency professionals, including John, baring their own. After some back and forth it was decided that John was the most appropriate candidate. And so continued one of the strangest days of his career at Barclays.