How Nationwide used humour to get UK consumers saving

Nationwide took practical action to overcome a widespread lack of saving among people in the UK, helping it arrest the decline in savings rates.

The number of people who would struggle to cope if they received an unexpected bill is clearly illustrated by a single, striking statistic: 11 million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings. 

In an effort to address this issue, Nationwide launched the ‘Payday Save Day’ campaign, based on the simple premise that it is easier to save money on the day you are paid.

With interest rates for borrowers low, and with Brexit uncertainty putting pressure on household finances, Nationwide feared savers would take their deposits away.

But with a stark societal issue in play, Nationwide wanted customers to save for their own sake as well as for its own financial health.

Low incomes are obviously a barrier to saving, but Nationwide’s research found people in every income bracket were struggling to save. The building society therefore set about creating a simple savings structure that would work for real people.

Keen not to seem that it was preaching to consumers, Nationwide aimed its campaign at people who felt financially disengaged.

Having previously used poetry to address the challenges people face in their everyday lives, this new campaign employed stand-up comedians, on the basis that comedy can disarm even the most serious subjects.

Working with VCCP, the campaign’s media strategy centered around TV ads, with spots airing during feel-good or comedy shows such as Gogglebox and Family Guy. This was supported by digital outdoor, cinema, radio and podcast ads, while paid social was used to send out a Payday Save Day reminder to audiences through Facebook and Instagram.

Measurement found the TV campaign achieved high cut through and recall, with recall in social three times higher than is typical – and Nationwide believes that it shifted public attitudes towards sharing.

It also arrested the decline in savings rates, finishing the year with net savings balances five times higher than forecast.

The success of the campaign saw Nationwide win the 2020 Marketing Week Masters award for financial services.



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