Nationwide moots new Leagas tie-up

The Nationwide Building Society is talking to agencies about its

above-the-line account in a move which could see the company united for

a third time with Leagas Delaney.



The company is talking to Leagas Delaney, among other agencies, in a

pitch being handled by the AAR.



The move to reintroduce TV advertising follows a poor performance from

Nationwide, which has suffered dramatic falls in mortgage lending over

recent months. New mortgage sales fell by 21 per cent in the year to

April.



Nationwide parted company with Bartle Bogle Hegarty in July 2000 owing

to creative differences. That agency has since taken on Leagas Delaney's

recently departed Barclays account, leaving a financial services gap on

Leagas Delaney's account list.



Leagas Delaney resigned the account in 1999, after discovering that

Nationwide had opened talks with rival agencies. The agency first won

the business from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in 1991 and went on to

create the "Don from Doncaster" spots. The two split in 1994 when the

account moved to GGT. January 1997 saw Nationwide move the business out

of GGT, claiming it no longer needed a full-service agency. Leagas

Delaney began work on the brand again in 1997, but the relationship

lasted for just over a year.



In February 1999, the then marketing director of Nationwide, Mike

Lazenby, pulled the company's advertising budget and diverted it into

football sponsorship. He left the company at the end of that year and

was replaced with Steve Clode.



Clode decided against outsourcing the company's advertising. Subsequent

work has been developed either in-house or by the below-the-line

agencies WAVV Rapp Collins and Ping.



Leagas Delaney produced "Don from Doncaster" in 1992. The work was

revived in 1998 during the agency's second stint on the account. BBH's

spots showed people being massaged to demonstrate the peace of mind

offered by Nationwide, but were criticised for being too bland.



Tom Harvey, the head of external affairs at Nationwide, said: "We are in

regular touch with a number of agencies. We are not looking for an

agency of record, but we do have a television project for which we are

looking to hire an agency."



Nationwide set out to change the structure of the mortgage business by

scrapping up-front discounts to supply a clearer pricing policy to

customers.



However, Nationwide has lost potential customers to other lenders,

including the Halifax and Abbey National, which have followed suit by

offering lower rates on request as well as low up-front rates to attract

new business.