Barclaycard to forge 'responsible' image

Barclaycard, the UK's most-used credit card, is to overhaul its PR strategy in an effort to build its credentials as a responsible lender.

The Barclays-owned brand is to hold agency talks over a new brief to develop a 'full-on stakeholders plan' incorporating 'big slugs of corporate responsibility and public affairs work', said head of PR Ian Barber.

The move follows news from Barclays in May that bad consumer debts were rising faster than expected and will mark Barclaycard's first initiative on this scale.

Barclaycard wants to better manage its corporate reputation among government, NGOs and business media. The agency will position Barclaycard as a 'responsible lender, transparent and fair to customers'.

The rethink means the end of the relationship with Lexis PR, which has handled mainly consumer work since 1999. As the new brief has limited consumer work, Lexis declined to repitch.

Barber said 'scrutiny' of consumer lending practices had increased markedly in recent years adding: 'We have a programme of business change to address this.'

In 2003, Barclays CEO Matt Barrett famously said he avoided borrowing on credit cards because they were too expensive.

Barber will select from agencies that have already been approached.

Barclaycard recently launched its latest TV ad campaign, starring comedienne Jennifer Saunders.

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