Barclays' Unconditional Love Advertisement: A Parenting Fail?

5 years ago
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Barclays' You vs Unconditional Love AdvertisementDear Barclays Bank

I don't totally understand your recent 'You vs Unconditional Love' advertisement.

Specifically, and satirical or not, I’m confused as to what message the young person is to take from this ad.

Bravo for any sensible initiative that might help a young person get onto today’s impossible housing ladder, but a leg up at what cost?

The Scenario

Out of babydom, we are presented with a brattish young madam throwing a once coveted ice-cream onto the ground to go on to demand the next best thing – a doll. Over the years, the demands of this impolite young person get bigger in the form of a bike, horse, car and then a house.

Demands that are seemingly met…unconditionally.

The advertisement ends with the next generation (the child of the original little madam) beating his mother down with the start of his juvenile demands (again, an ice-cream) and, thus, the dysfunctional cycle continues into the next generation.

The Copy

The Barclays copy runs:

There is no greater test of unconditional love than the act of having children.

Because from the moment those tiny little parasitic bundles of joy enter your world, they spend the next 20 odd years laying claim to everything in it. They want this. They need that. If you don't give it to them, well obviously it's because you don't love them enough. But at some point you have to start looking after your own interests.

At Barclays we've created a family springboard mortgage. You can put your savings towards your loved one's mortgage but you'll get your money back with interest after three years. Because what goes around should always come around.

For all of life's little challenges, you can always count on your bank.

Alternative Copy


Coming from a background of parents’ unconditional love having some rules and, yes, conditions, maybe the Barclays copy could more sensibly read:

There is no greater test of parental love than the act of raising well-trained and unentitled children.
Because from the moment those tiny unspoiled bundles of joy enter the world, it is a parent’s job to spend the next 20 years ensuring they do not arbitrarily lay claim to everything in it. That they may, indeed, want this or feel they need that, but if we don’t give in to them it is because, obviously, we love them enough to say no.

Everyone’s best interests will have been served when children leave home as grateful and deserving members of society. Members of society parents will be glad to try and help financially, if possible. In this way, what goes around should come back around in the next generation of polite and unentitled kids.

For all of life’s little challenges, you can always count on your bank to not count on the bank of mum and dad.

Whady’a think?

The Official Take

One of the official summaries I’ve seen on this advertisement from the advertising agency reads:

The film examines the relationship between a father and daughter as she grows older. On one hand he wants to help his daughter as her demands progress from toys, to a car and, finally, a home of her own. However, at the same time he wrestles with looking after his own interests.

Philosophy: On Saturday 12th January, Barclays will launch a TV advert to promote its innovative Family Springboard mortgage. This new product allows parents to put their savings towards their loved ones mortgage and get their money back, with interest, after 3 years.

The humorous new campaign signals a more emotive approach for the brand. Voiced by Jim Broadbent, it demonstrates how Barclays is listening to its customers, recognises their financial dilemmas and has the products, tools and services to help resolve them. They call this You-Shaped Banking.

Out of Shape Parenting

I dunno, Barclays Bank, but where I come from, this would have been called out of shape parenting and seems an odd corporate premise to present to young people. The parent may, indeed, end up getting their money back after three years, but they will certainly have lost something far more valuable - some precious teaching moments.

Yours sincerely, me.

MISs Make It Stop!


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