Barclays taps Spark for credit-card arm

SAN FRANCISCO: The US credit-card division of UK-based Barclays Bank has hired Spark Public Relations as its AOR.

SAN FRANCISCO: The US credit-card division of UK-based Barclays Bank has hired Spark Public Relations as its AOR.

Spark will build US awareness of co-branded partnership opportunities with the Barclaycard. It will also work to promote existing partnerships, among them: DirecTV, Best Western, and US Airways.

The 300-year-old bank is placing an increased focus on building its US business, which now boasts 3.5 million American cardholders and about 60 brand partners.

"Here in the US, the presence isn't as [strong], but it's a really trusted brand," said Donna Sokolsky, Spark cofounder.

Spark will work closely with Barclays' US headquarters in Wilmington, DE, as well as Barclays' main office in London. Spark also has a London office.

The firm had an existing relationship with Juniper Financial Corp., which was acquired by Barclays in 2004. In order to win this account, Spark hired a New Jersey-based PR pro (a former Juniper PR staff member) who would be closer to Barclays' Delaware office.

"It was not a foregone conclusion that we'd win the business," Sokolsky said. "We convinced them that we understood their business and were committed to mirroring [it]."

She added that the account value is in "the high six figures."

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