Vadgevertising: Barclays’ New Pink Advert

Solving advertising with swearing and PhotoShop.
Publish date:
January 25, 2013
sexism, advertising, banking, Robyn Wilder, barclays, vadgevertising

Every time this pink Barclays advert about the spoilt daughter and put-upon dad comes on, I want to put my fist through my coffee table:

This Guardian piece criticises the Barclays advert’s pinkery, materialism and lack of a mother figure.

I sort of agree, but on the other hand I think we all get that the girl is a petulant, grasping, Veruca Salt-style daddy’s girl. We’re in on the joke.

My beef goes deeper than that. That’s right; I have deep beef:

1. The phrase “there is no greater test of unconditional love than the act of having children”. WRONG. I am reliably informed that the act of RAISING children tests unconditional love, while the act of HAVING children tests your vagina (unless you have a Caesarian, which tests your love of bikinis).

2. Did all the things the girl wanted really have to be pink? Without getting too po-faced and high-horsey, with an advert this stylised and high-spec you’d hope for a punchline slightly more sophisticated than “women, eh?”. She could have asked for a yacht or a Samurai sword or a beehive or ANYthing. She could have been a LARPer and asked for a lightning bolt, for god’s sake. This is the 21st century. Also I like saying ‘LARPer’ whenever I can.

3. I could forgive all the accidental misogyny if the voiceover wasn’t so mean-spirited. “Are you an ineffectual parent?” It seems to ask. “Are you suffused with hatred for your awful children as a result? Well, play the long game and you can get 3% back on your mortgage.”

What a glum state of affairs. Here’s how I would have reimagined it:

Again, you’re welcome, advertising.

Meanwhile, the idea that putting money towards your children’s mortgages is an actual THING is news to me. As soon as I finish writing this I’m going to hunt down Dr Emmet Brown so I can go back in time and tell my mother about it before she spends all her retirement coin on extravagant cruises and a new bathroom suite.