Barclays: Marketing Gone Bad


Marketing and branding are never sure-fire, guaranteed means of success, especially when your company is in the middle of one of the largest banking scandals in the history of the UK. Barclays is seeing this now, with a rather clever marketing campaign turned nasty due to the work of a few overzealous protesters turned vandals. After these recent events, people in the UK may never again look at Barclays the same.

People all over the UK are familiar with the oft seen sky blue Barclays logo, more so now than ever due to a £25 million campaign that featured a sticker with their logo attached to rental cycles all over London. This was intended to make Barclays seem like an organic part of the city as well as a younger, greener choice for banking and investment. For a few days, people in the city saw the Barclays logo wherever they went, and the marketing campaign appeared to have been successful.

However, a variety of recent news brought another take on Barclays. Poorly thought out loans; improper acquisitions; billions of pounds in taxpayer funds… it seems that there is no end to the bad news about this finance company. In addition, an American who is head of investment banking will be placed as Chief Executive next year, likely to continue the cycle of failure that seems to be this company’s gold standard. The Barclays logo seen all over London has suddenly become less of a positive image and more of a bitter reminder of this unpleasant reality.

While these scandals were flooding the news, protesters in the city were making a few clandestine marketing decisions of their own. Over a span of several days, stickers bearing a popular four letter word were slapped onto the rental bikes bearing the Barclays logo. Instead of proudly bearing the bank’s name, the bicycles are now cursing it in language that would make many banking customers blush.

Not only can these defaced bikes be seen around city, they can be seen on blogs and Twitter feeds all over the internet. This rather creative marketing strategy has taken an unfortunate turn and became the most memorable branding snafu of the year. It is not known how many bikes in London are bearing the obscene vandalism, but the number seems rather high at this point.

What does this mean for other companies? Probably nothing, unless you plan to make devastating decisions and expect the government to bail you out. Don’t let this unfortunate incident turn you forever away from the world of marketing, branding, and logo design. It should be noted that this campaign was actually quite successful before the unfortunate news hit the media. Creative marketing can be a great branding tool because it allows you to get your logo design out in the public in a way that is unique and memorable. This campaign in particular had immense promise because it identified itself with a particularly trendy and green mode of transportation. While nothing but time can help Barclays, you can get the help you need from a professional branding consultant and logo designer.