20 Jul 2010
Standing in a queue at the Nationwide Building Society this week, I picked up this little leaflet. (Note to Nationwide: 9.30am, 7 people in the line and only one teller and a trainee serving. Please address this before my next visit. Ta.) Anyway, because I had nothing better to do, I started reading about Nationwide’s latest TV ad campaign which uses the characters from TV’s Little Britain, such as Vicky Pollard and Lou and Andy.
Now, I love these ads. And I like the fact that Nationwide has been brave enough to use controversial TV characters in their advertising. So when I picked up this leaflet I was hoping to read some quirky, fun, off the wall copy. Wrong.
First of all, this leaflet isn’t aimed at Joe Public: it’s actually aimed at Nationwide staff because it talks about the ‘intranet’ and ‘customer questions’, which makes the style of this leaflet even more inappropriate. (And why was it in the banking hall for me to pick up?)
Take the opening line: “Our TV ads have been designed to cut through the noise of the media.” What? Yawnsville. With all due respect to the staff at Nationwide, how many of them will know what “cut through the noise of the media” even means? I’m not sure I know.
The best bit is under customer questions. In other words, the questions customers may come in and ask.
Question: The ads talk about “Proud to be different”. How can you justify that?
Answer: Our mutual model, combined with great service, and a commitment to long-tern value for our members all make us very different to other financial service.
Ewwww. “Our mutual model”? Can you imagine any building society cashier actually saying this. Nope.
Or how about:
Question: How much has the advertising cost?
Answer: We’ve benchmarked our production costs and we’re in line with the market.
So if I went into a branch this afternoon and asked how much the ad campaign cost do you think I would get the answer above?
Was this written by the ad agency and then butchered in-house by some corporate bod who had been on a marketing course? Or was it knocked together by an intern in the marketing department? ‘After all, it’s only for the staff.’ It’s a shame. Because this was an opportunity for Nationwide to get their teams a-buzzin’ about the new campaign. This misses the mark by miles.