M&C Sports & Entertainment snaps up Barclays

M&C Saatchi is nothing if not resilient: it may be under siege from deputy chairman Vin Murria and her tech investment vehicle, but it keeps picking up business.

The agency’s M&C Sports & Entertainment has supplanted Iris on Barclays’ sports and entertainment business as the bank looks to celebrate a 20-year connection with the UK’s Premier League. It is also investing heavily in women’s football.

CEO Jamie Wynne-Morgan says: “Barclays is one of the leading champions of women’s football through record investments in the Women’s Super League and as the first title sponsor of the FA Women’s Championship.

“This year, the brand will celebrate 20 years of partnership with the Premier League, making it one of the longest-standing brands in football sponsorship.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be uniting our shared expertise and ambitions and we look forward to helping both brands build on these game-changing partnerships.”

Marketing a bank must be a funny old business. Barclays has, no doubt, won plenty of plaudits for supporting something as popular as football. Yet most of the press they get is about bad treatment of customers (in December 2020 Barclays was fined £26m for this), closing branches they could easily afford to keep open and senior bankers’ eye-watering bonuses. Former boss Jes Staley stepped down over an association in a previous banking life with Jeffrey Epstein.

You could, were you so minded, see this as another example of “sports washing.”

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.