Barclaycard droga5 toxic business

Barclaycard Critique Hustle Culture In Parody Campaign

Partnering with Droga5, Barclaycard encourages small businesses to be on the 'Right Side of Hustle' with satirical 'pro-hustle' character

By Emma Vernon

Barclaycard Payments has satirised business influencers who push the idea that small businesses can only succeed through toxic levels of hustling in a new campaign by Droga5, a part of Accenture Song, the first the brand has run on TikTok.

Continuing its commitment to taking bold creative ideas to relevant places, Droga5 has created Max, a faux productivity influencer who appears in a series of TikToks starting from 29 May. 

Max is the ultimate hustle bro. He seems successful. He seems productive. He seems motivating. And he’s here to push you to #hustle. But Max is actually incredibly toxic and his advice ranges from dubious to dangerous. Following it is not only a surefire way to burn out - but it risks bringing down your business with you. 

Droga5 is driving engagement with the humorous content starring Max, but at the same time the campaign highlights how Barclaycard is helping small businesses stay on the right side of hustle thanks to real, non-toxic TikTok content creators in the small business space, who will set the record straight regarding Max’s advice. 

Underlining the campaign is research by Barclaycard Payments, showing how toxic hustle culture has a hard cost to businesses & the “Right Side of Hustle” tool, which helps SMEs identify and avoid toxic hustle culture. Small-business owners can then learn to manage their work lives in a healthier way through content created in partnership with Mastercard Strive and Digital Boost. 

The TikTok campaign features a 36-second hero film and four shorter instalments of 15 seconds each, running until 30 June. It also spans DOOH advertising from 3 June to 11 June and press and digital display ads in The Guardian.

Emma Hodgson, head of brand, media and digital at Barclaycard Payments, wrote on LinkedIn: "I'm incredibly excited to unveil our latest campaign tackling the issue of Toxic Hustle Culture in small businesses. We've combined high impact OOH ads and a TikTok campaign parodying toxic "productivity" influencers to show how toxic hustle can hurt the bottom line. This was such a brilliant campaign to be a part of - big thanks to the Barclaycard team, Droga5 & OMDUK for pushing the creative boundaries!" 


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