Opinion

Was Barclays OneSmallStep campaign the biggest digital marketing flop ever?

If any technology start up was disappointed by their treatment of Barclays, don't take it personally. They obviously don't seem to understand technology SMEs at all.

You can't avoid the Barclays Bank adverts at the moment. You know the ones. Comedy actor Robert Webb stars in a hilarious double act with Duncan Bannatyne, the hard man from Dragons Den. While Webb clowns around, Bannatyne tries not to suffer this fool gladly.

The dramatic conflict only serves to get across the message more powerfully. Which is that, er.... Barclays Bank wants everyone to know how nice they are.

To this end, they've spent a fortune on every time of advertising know to man. They've bought right hand pages in the broadsheet newspapers. Prime time TV advertising spots. They've taken every ad break available on the entire nation's commercial radios. Not to mention the Youtube films, virals, guerilla marketing and mime artists in the street. 

Don't be surprised if a single engine plane buzzes your house with week end trailing a banner ad. If Julius Francis was still boxing, I'm sure Barclays would have bough ad space on the soles of his feet.

It must have cost them, according to my mate Nick who works in advertising, around the £3m mark.

Money well spent?

Not really. All the adverts are meant to drive traffic to Barclays Small Business Competition web site.

And yes, type www.onesmallstep.co.uk into an online evaluator, and they think the web site is worth between $80,000 and, in one case, $5,681.

They've spent £3 million to generate £4,000 worth of publicity. 
Doesn't say much for their business acumen does it?

Still, I'm sure they'll make it back in admin charges, bail outs and home repossessions. 



This was first published in July 2011

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