Nationwide achieves ‘exceptional’ short-term brand uplift score for relaunch ad

Nationwide’s ad unveiling its rebrand scores within the top 10 percent of consumer banking ads, according to data from effectiveness firm System1.

Nationwide’s relaunch campaign ‘A good way to bank’ has been rated as one of the top-performing ads for effectiveness, according to data from effectiveness firm System1. It is also one of the best-performing banking ads the firm has tested, coming in the top 10 percent, despite the new look itself receiving mixed reviews.

The rebrand, launched earlier this month, was the building society’s first in nearly 40 years.

To land the message about its refresh and the pledges to consumers that underpin it, Nationwide launched a TV-led campaign featuring actors Dominic West and Sunil Patel as manager and assistant of a rival bank. Created in partnership with New Commercial Arts and Hungry Man, the ad uses humour to convey Nationwide’s promise to keep branches open while its rivals cut back on in-store capabilities.

Jon Evans, chief customer officer at System1 tells Marketing Week Nationwide’s focus on humour and humanity is at the core of the ad’s  success.

“It’s great to see marketers taking risks and taking the competition on,” he says. “Nationwide’s hard-hitting humour brings out plenty of negative feelings like anger and sadness, but they’re aimed at the big bank rivals who close branches and let customers down. And the ad still lands well above the consumer banking average for long-term growth potential.”

According to System1’s Test Your Ad platform, which tests the effectiveness of a given ad with 150 consumers, the ad achieves a score of 94 for ‘fluency’ – how many consumers recognise the brand by the end of the ad – helped in no small part by having the new logo appear at the very beginning of the creative. This is classed as a “strong” score and measures against a category average of 85.

It is validation of the argument made by Richard Warren, director of brands, marketing and experience at Nationwide, who told Marketing Week at the time of launch that the building society was not giving up any brand equity by overhauling its identity.

The ad also achieves a ‘spike rating’ – a measure of short-term brand uplift – of 1.44, which is classed by System1 as an “exceptional” outcome.

Evans notes that it is in the short term that “the ad really smashes it”. He adds: “Short-term impact will be particularly important as the ad is also a stealth rebrand, and rebrands can cause a short-term hit as brand recognition drops.”

He also states that rebrands are an “advertising nightmare” as they tempt brands to talk about themselves, not the problems they solve for their customers. He says Nationwide has been “smart enough not to fall into that trap”.

‘We’re not giving up brand equity’: The inside story of Nationwide’s rebrand

Meanwhile, the ad measures 1.34 for emotional intensity, compared to an average of 1.01 for consumer banking brands generally.

Overall the ad achieves a “modest” star rating of 2.9, a measure of its long-term market share growth based on creative effectiveness, calculated by measuring emotional response to the ad. This is versus a category average of 2.0 for consumer banking in general.

The wider refresh has been ongoing since last year, when the bank’s long-standing ‘Voices’ campaign was retired after a creative review. It followed the departure of its CMO Sara Bennison, who had been in the role since 2016.