Personalized credit cards.
That’s right. Anyone with a camera or a hooky copy of Adobe Photoshop can design their own picture or graphic to be printed onto their Barclays credit card which they can then use in any store, restaurant or Heritage site in the country if not the entire world. Apparently, Barclay’s idea is to be “a little less banky”.
Being of a puerile bent, my mind instantly leapt at the potential for comedic mayhem that I could unleash onto my favourite unsuspecting store cashiers. A credit card with my middle-finger, enlarged by enforced perspective, erupting in eye-watering 3D as my gurning face grins lasciviously behind it. Yeah, swipe that shop clerk! Or maybe something a bit more satirical… me dressed up as a stereotypical crook – black and white striped jersey and black eye-mask, hauling a bag of swag over my shoulder. How much for my weekly shop, Mr Tesco? Daylight robbery? You betcha! Or even better… the ultimate social commentary. We’ve all heard of Christmas party goers photocopying their bum-cracks during office revels. Well, that’s small fry and amateurish compared to your very own credit card proudly displaying your cranked open bum cheeks below the MasterCard icon. Yeah, I’ll take some cash back on that please, Mr Cashier. Worth every frigging penny!
I even went so far as to mock up some initial designs and break out my digital camera. I even thought about acquiring a “back, sack and crack” but figured you could take suffering for your art a little bit too far.
In the end my little comedy ship ran aground before it even left the port (kind of like the Mary Rose only without the overblown Tudor ego weighing it down). It appears Barclays, utter killjoys that they are, have stipulated a few “image guidelines”. Here they are in all their full unbroken-down glory (my additions are in italics):
1. You must own the image or have the permission of the image owner to use it. (yeah, der)
2. If your image includes another person, you must have their consent to use it. (ditto)
3. The image you choose for your card must not contain any of the following:
- Trademarks or company names – eg, images marked with ® or ™ signs (so Jedi but not Star Wars)
- Images or text protected by copyright – eg, images marked with © or other watermarks or notations (no quotes from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four)
- Slogans, tag lines, branding, marketing or promotional products, services or images of companies (does that include “McBollocks”?)
- Images of, or the name or nickname of, celebrities, musicians, sportspersons, entertainers, public figures, film stars, cartoon characters, members of the royal family or other famous people (bang goes my Paul Daniels’ “you’ll like this but not” a lot idea)
- Contact information – eg, telephone numbers, URLs, Facebook and Twitter usernames account numbers, addresses or email addresses (a major blow to call-girls everywhere and I can’t even poke the checkout girl)
- Political statements or images relating to ethnicity or religion (so much for my “Jesus, that’s expensive!” idea)
- Images of flags, except for the Union Jack/UK flag, St George’s Cross/English flag, St Andrew’s Cross/Scottish flag, The Red Dragon/Welsh flag and St Patrick’s Saltire/Northern Irish flag. If any of these are used, they can only be images of the original national flags and must not be edited, cropped or have any additional art work or writing on them (what about the Jolly Roger – is that not OK?)
- Images, signs, symbols or text relating to money, currency, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, gangs, hatred, graffiti, betting, gambling, or financial products and services (what? banking generally)
- Provocative, lewd or sexual images or content (that’s 95% of images on the internet ruled out)
- Nudity (does that include animals?)
- Offensive material – eg, images, signs, symbols or text relating to violence, death, injury, racism, cruelty, profanity, obscenity, weapons, firearms, ammunition or terrorism (that’s all references to the armed forces ruled out)
- Anti-social or obscene behaviour, or socially unacceptable groups (so sober pacifist tramps are OK?)
- Content where drinking, being drunk, smoking or gambling is the focus (the Great British social scene down the pan)
- Text, unless benign and in the English language (no interesting quotes from Chaucer)
- Any image that might reflect poorly or might engender hostility toward company brands, including MasterCard®, Visa® or Barclays (that’s my bumhole right out of the equation then)
- Any reference to the Olympic Games, World Cup or any other international branded event (no candid shots of the Ladies’ Bowls Tournament)
- Reference to any bank, building society or other monetary institution (so much for my “HSBC is great” idea and I guess the Mafia is out too?)
- Weapons, unless in a ceremonial context (what if I kill someone during a twenty-one gun salute?)
Right. Basically this rules out any idea that I have already had and / or any idea that I am ever going to have. I pretty much guarantee it. Apart from one. The word BORING in very large type spread across the face of the card.
Yet again, the bankers of this country have stifled creativity, public spending and the potential for economic growth.
Maybe the word “shameful” would be a more suitable design?