Virgin Money, the banking arm of the business empire founded by Virgin Records mastermind Richard Branson, has debuted a line of "punk-themed" credit cards — including three that use the logo and artwork from the Sex Pistols.

Branson celebrated the band's ties to Virgin, with whom the Sex Pistols signed in 1977, in a press release calling Virgin Money a bank that "can be proud of its past." "The Sex Pistols are an iconic band and an important part of Virgin's history," Branson adds. "Even after nearly 40 years, the Sex Pistols’ power to provoke is undimmed."

News of the cards' launch has definitely provoked no small amount of online ire, with plenty of punk fans rushing to point out that this type of endorsement deal is exactly the kind of thing the Sex Pistols loudly railed against during their heyday. Virgin's promotional campaign acknowledges the group's proud outsider stance, encouraging consumers to "put a little bit of rebellion in their pocket."

"In launching these cards, we wanted to celebrate Virgin’s heritage and difference," explains Michele Greene, the bank's director of cards. "The Sex Pistols challenged convention and the established ways of thinking – just as we are doing today in our quest to shake up U.K. banking."

Of course, as longtime Pistols fans are well aware, frontman John Lydon has always flown his punk flag by doing whatever he wants — up to and including celebrity endorsement deals that include his widely derided stint as a butter pitchman. "Are oiks like me not supposed to make a living? I don’t remember writing a contract saying I must not advertise. And, by the way, I do eat butter," he sneered last year. "You’ve only got to look at me in the nude to see that."

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