Nationwide unleashes TV ad blitz

NationwideNationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, claims to be launching a “unique” television campaign that marries brand ads with product and direct-response TV spots, in a move to trump its bigger “plc” rivals.

Head of brand strategy Peter Gandolfi believes the mix is “unique” in UK financial services advertising and signals a change in strategy for the mutual.

Leagas Delaney brand spots, starring the Mark Benton bank manager character, will run alongside direct-response and home-insurance ad spots created by cchm:ping. The Benton character will appear in the cchm:ping spots, but to a lesser degree.

Gandolfi hopes the combination will build on the three-year-old brand campaign, but drive product sales, adding that although Benton has created brand awareness, the range and depth of Nationwide products is not known well enough.

“People think of mutuals as just current accounts, mortgages and loans,” he says, adding that Nationwide must dispel those myths by doing more to promote its insurance and credit-card products.

He denies the move is a prelude to axing Benton, or Leagas Delaney. He says that too many financial-services brands scrap marketing strategies too early, and few have been able to create the trust inspired by Nationwide’s brand spots.

Brand work will run across national TV, with the Anglia and Central regions showing the ads in a six-week burst from February. By comparing the results, Gandolfi hopes to develop a strategy that can be rolled out and amplified. The campaign will also run in press and online.

Media planning and buying is through Mediaedge:cia, and is currently up for pitch. The review for the building society’s £20m account is being overseen by the OysterCatchers. A result is due next month.

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