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'Put rebellion in your pocket' with new card; BANKING.

Byline: TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

CHALLENGER bank Virgin Money has cut a deal with punk legends the Sex Pistols to put the band's striking album artwork on its newly-launched credit cards.

In a celebration of Virgin's musical heritage - but a move likely to dismay punk purists - the bank has produced cards bearing artwork from the Sex Pistols' Nevermind the Bollocks and Anarchy in the UK records.

An undisclosed commercial deal with the band means Virgin Money will now produce the cards which are free from embossing so as not to interfere with the design.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder who signed the Sex Pistols to his Virgin Records imprint in 1977 said: "The Sex Pistols are an iconic band and an important part of Virgin's history. Virgin Money is a bank that can be proud of its past, and I love the fact that the team have chosen to celebrate it in this way.

"Even after nearly 40 years, the Sex Pistols power to provoke is undimmed, and we are still being asked to censor the word bollocks in our advertising.

"Over the years many things have changed, but in this case some attitudes clearly do not." Sir Richard signed the band after their infamous appearance on the Bill Grundy show led them to be dropped by rival label EMI.

The entrepreneur then released the group's first album, Nevermind the Bollocks, and the label was soon summoned to Nottingham Magistrates' Court to defend itself against obscenity charges.

Eventually the label was acquitted on the grounds that 'bollocks' was a nickname for 18th Century priests, and not a derivative of testicles. A linguistics professor from Nottingham University, who also was also a priest, was called as an expert witness.

Michele Greene, director of cards at Virgin Money said: "For a long time now, UK banks have all been the same. They have the same products, the same services and the same attitude towards customers. At Virgin Money, we are aiming to change that.

"In launching these cards, we wanted to celebrate Virgin's heritage and difference. The Sex Pistols challenged convention and the established ways of thinking - just as we are doing today in our quest to shake up UK banking.

"New technology allows the artwork to be reproduced in full and these designs are available across our entire card range - from our market-leading balance transfer offer through to our competitive All-Round card.

"And our cards don't just look different. They offer better value for customers too. We are one of the few card providers that always give customers the deal they see advertised when they're accepted, not a poorer alternative, so what you see is what you get. It's time for consumers to put a little bit of rebellion in their pocket."

Speaking to The Journal last month as Virgin Money revealed a 34% rise in gross lending to PS1.6bn, chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said her ambition was go after the market share of Barclaycard, and other card providers. She described credit cards as a "major business line" for the bank.

In a blog post to mark the Sex Pistols card launch, Ms Gadhia said Virgin's heritage gave the company capacity to challenge the status quo and pledged to "get rid of the bollocks in banking".

Virgin Money credit card customers will be able to opt for the Sex Pistols branding.

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Sir Richard <BBranson says Virgin money is a bank that's proud of its past. He was the man who signed the Sex Pistols to Virgin Records in 1977
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 9, 2015
Words:595
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