Nationwide strips back ads to make 'authentic' connection

Nationwide has dispensed with the plinky-plonky music, cutesy children and heroic staff from its previous ad campaign, in favour of a new approach that seeks to connect with customers by featuring "ordinary" poets speak to camera.

It will showcase the new direction with a two-minute ad featuring published poet Hollie McNish reading a poem about her six-year old daughter, in one take.

The ad will air during The X Factor on Saturday (17 September). It focuses on the experience of being a mum, and aims to show how Nationwide understands the decisions parents take about their children.

The change of tone from the building society’s previous ads, in which the brand was more at the forefront and the emotion was dialled up, was overseen by Sara Bennison, who joined as CMO at the beginning of the year.

The new ads are by VCCP, the creative agency Nationwide appointed in March 2015. Media planning and buying is by Havas Media. Following last month's review, the media account will move to MEC.

The first ad, which focuses on children’s savings, precedes two others also featuring poets. One will focus on investing in branches and people and the other will target first-time buyers.

Bennison said: "The voices of ordinary people are rarely heard within financial services advertising today. These ads provide an opportunity for Nationwide to go back to its roots in a powerful, authentic and thought-provoking way while giving people a voice on the things that matter most in their lives." 

Jim Thornton, VCCP deputy executive creative director, said: "Each of these poets brings a raw honesty to the words they have written, the subjects they’ve chosen and the way in which they are performed.

"It’s rare and refreshing to see such authenticity in a world of advertising artifice. Sometimes, advertising is at its most effective when the hand of the client and agency can be least detected."

The ads also introduce a new tagline, "building society, nationwide". This takes over from "on your side", which last featured in the 2015 ad, "Generations", which was at the centre of a court battle between Nationwide and its former creative agency 18 Feet & Rising over who created the ad.

Last September the agency withdrew its claim accusing Nationwide of passing off its work as its own and the two sides issued this joint statement:

"The campaign was adapted and developed by Nationwide from an original creative idea and script first put forward by 18 Feet & Rising. 18 Feet & Rising were retained by Nationwide to supply it with creative ideas and received payment accordingly.

"Any intellectual property rights arising from or related to the original creative idea and script submitted to Nationwide by 18 Feet & Rising are owned by Nationwide."

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