Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Money money money...

Time for another Sponsored Post. As you may remember, it was nigh impossible for me to open a British bank account because most banks would only accept bank statements and council tax or phone bills as proof of address – though obviously, I wouldn't need a new current account if I already had one and I wouldn't have been able to pay those bills without a bank account! One of the banks that didn't want to give me a basic current account, even after I showed them the contract for my new job, was Barclays.

I don't bear as much grudge against Barclays as I do against Santander – they made me go through the signing up process THREE times, promised to get in touch as soon as they knew whether I was accepted or declined every time, and never called. What's more, they couldn't even tell me what had happened to my previous request when I returned to the branch and made me sign up again. Very frustrating.

I actually think Barclays has done a very good job investing in the Cycle Hire Scheme in London. Though I think the sticker activists are witty and do have a point, I like the idea of being able to hop on a bike to get to the other side of the city centre quickly. It's like a capitalist version (aka a version that might work) of the Provo's Witte Fietsenplan. I've almost forgiven Barclays for not allowing me to open a current account because of the Cycle Hire Scheme.In fact, if they hadn't launched an utterly stupid online game, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. The game is called 56 Sage Street, and contrary to the Barclays bicycles, it's free. That is, if you don't believe that time is money because, in their own words, it's "an addictive free game in which players roam a vast city finding work, or places to stay, meeting new challenges and picking up contacts to help players make it to the top." Sounds like they expect their younger audience to invest a lot of time in the game.

I've had a little play around and I reckon the objectives are to educate players so that they won't fall for scams, encourage them to take any job even if it is to carry coffins into a council estate (!) and to make them think Barclays is the only trustworthy bank. It's supposed to be cool because you can save your achievements to your Facebook account – though, to be honest, I don't expect my friends to think I'm subzero for posting ads for a bank on my wall without getting paid for it.

I admit that I've got a soft spot for the accent of the voice over but honestly, that's the only thing I like about this campaign fortunately, I don't see why the game is addictive. Do you think I'm not doing the game justice? Go ahead, try it out for yourself at and tell me what you think.

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