Inside Nationwide’s award-winning campaign to shift consumer attitudes around saving

Learn how Nationwide used comedy to reframe how consumers’ view their finances and arrest the decline in savings rates.

Cast your mind back to mid-2019, back to when very few people had even heard the word ‘coronavirus’. You’ll remember a nation gripped in a storm of political and economic uncertainty as Brexit approached.

Savings rates were also in the midst of a historically low period, while the UK had witnessed nine consecutive quarters where households were, on average, spending more than they earned. Household savings ratios were at an all-time low.

As the second largest savings institution in the country, Nationwide felt it had both a societal responsibility and a business imperative to address the issue.

Through insight work, the building society found the problem wasn’t that people didn’t care about saving; they knew how important it was. The problem was people felt that saving strategies were too challenging or doomed to fail.

To remedy that Nationwide launched its ‘PayDay SaveDay’ campaign in the summer of 2019, based on the simple premise that it is easier to save money on the day you are paid.

Nationwide uses comedy to challenge ‘parent-like’ conversation around saving

“We wanted people to think about savings in a different way,” said Paul Hibbs, director of advertising and media at Nationwide. “What we needed was a mindset shift, from savings for a return more towards savings for security. And that was really the context where this was born from.”

Working with VCCP, the campaign rejected the earnest, serious tone often used by brands to talk about finances, instead employing stand-up comedians to disarm viewers and help make saving seem relatable to all.

As a result, Nationwide arrested the decline in savings rates, finishing the year with net savings balances five times higher than forecast.

Hear from Hibbs alongside Gethin James, group planning director at VCCP, as they dive into the method behind the campaign that successfully managed to shift consumer attitudes and led Nationwide to win the 2020 Marketing Week Masters award for financial services.

The deadline for the 2022 Marketing Week Awards has been extended to 8 June. The Awards, sponsored by The Ozone Project, celebrate the most effective, creative and innovative work in the industry. Brands, agencies, PR firms and analytics and marketing technology companies are all invited to submit their work. Visit the website to download an entry pack.