High Impact Without Transgressions

Technical Credits

Title: Insufficient Proposal
Agency: Young & Rubicam
Chief Creative Officers: Martin Mercado, Diego Tuya, Martin Goldberg, Dario Rial
Creative Director:Sergio Paoletta / Mariano Pazos
Art Director: Stuart Martin


Banco Galicia is one of the most generous companies in Argentina in terms of the benefits and discounts it provides to its credit card clients. But the public didn’t see it that way. Two other banks were perceived as being more “generous” in its focus groups. So, Galicia turned to the Argentine affiliate of the Young & Rubicam ad agency to reposition its Quiero! benefits program and bring perceptions closer in line with what it was offering.

“Before, it was the banks that chose which clients they would allow in; now it’s the other way around,” says Martin Mercado, general director of creativity at Young & Rubicam Buenos Aires. The agency decided to dramatize the benefits that Quiero! provides, and that’s how, in 2009, Marcos and Claudia were born.

Although they are presented as a pretty stereotypical couple in publicity terms– she uses the card they own jointly while he worries because he will have to pay for whatever she spends– she makes him see that with Quiero! points they are actually saving. The public accepted them immediately and so enthusiastically that over these three years and counting, the saga of Marcos and Claudia has accumulated a thick stack of chapters.

“It’s because they are realistic. People’s lives are like that,” explains Mercado. “Over time, we have shown that when we communicate the week’s discounts without showing the couple, the information doesn’t get through to the audience as effectively.”

A series of commercials using the same personalities over and over is not something you see often, because a lot rides on being able to maintain impact with the public. Most likely the record belongs to the garoto of Bombril (a wire sponge) which, as depicted by actor Carlos Moreno, has starred in more than 300 Brazilian television spots since 1978. It was a creation of the legendary Washington Oliveto, who worked first at DPZ and later at W/Brazil.

BancoGalicia-Insufficient proposal

An ad parodying Robert Redford’s Indecent Proposal • Photos: Courtesy of Young & Rubicam

In Argentina, you would have to go back at least to the end of the 90s and the now-defunct Agulla & Baccetti to find a precedent in La Llama que Llama. In the ad, llama puppets make prank phone calls, playing on the verb “to call” or “llamar,” before dissolving into peals of laughter. Their job was to communicate the benefits of Telecom in the era of telecommunication deregulation.

This year’s advertising revisits Hollywood classics which have been popular over the last few years. For example, thanks to the spots, the Quiero! couple could have been traveled on a ship that resembles the Titanic. Then came “Propuesta insuficiente” (“Insufficient Proposal”), in which Claudia and Marcos play billiards with a blond man who looks suspiciously like Robert Redford, and who offers … six hundred dollars to spend a night with her. And the next chapter will be inspired by Pretty Woman.

“There aren’t many brands that have a communication style that is sustained over the course of years. It’s something we all look for,” reflects Mercado. “Now other clients come and tell us, ‘I want a campaign like Galicia’s.’ But at the time, when we launched the first commercial, beyond having a marketing plan, the idea was to see as you go, and respond accordingly.”

Certainly feminists, or women who simply pay their own credit card bills, won’t identify with this couple. But it’s possible that many of them still enjoy the forgetfulness of Marcos and the sometimes impatient, sometimes opportunely ambiguous responses of Claudia.

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