Nationwide Building Society is a financial services business that competes with banks but isn’t one. They operate for the benefit of their members, founded on the principle of ‘mutuality’: we can achieve more together than we can alone.
Making this concept mean something is a core communications task. Success is measured through brand metrics “Brand I can Trust” and “Care More about Meeting Customer Needs Than Maximising Profit”. Shifting these measures creates greater brand consideration, bringing more members into Nationwide. Nationwide champions diversity in their advertising.
However, the more they showed real people from diverse backgrounds – spanning race, gender and sexuality – the more personal, hateful online abuse they received. This disturbing context motivated Nationwide to create a public-facing campaign highlighting the scale of online abuse in the UK to instigate change in the nation’s online behaviour. A staggering 41% of young adults have seen racist abuse, bullying or harassment online, according to UK charity The Cybersmile Foundation.
When Nationwide shared their “Hate Log” – a catalogue of unadulterated abuse targeted at people in their ads (which brands are generally advised to hide) – we had a lightbulb moment. What if we could use it to help turn people’s darkest actions into a beacon to instigate change? Exposing this would shock people. We could catch the nation off-guard if we chose a primetime moment to do it – a sharp contrast to the murkier online world – and spark them into action.
Our rallying cry was simple. Galvanise others who value diversity to work alongside us. Take a collective stand in bringing this behaviour out from the shadows. If it’s not OK to say it face-to-face, why is it ok to say it online?
#TogetherAgainstHate was born.
#TogetherAgainstHate had to shock and create awareness – in a place and moment when people weren’t expecting it but have the most impact to instigate change.
Primetime TV was the answer. Channel 4’s ‘born risky’ attitude and commitment to diversity made them the perfect partner.
We joined forces alongside some of the UK’s highest profile advertisers, MARS (Maltesers) and McCain, who share similar values and had seen similar online abuse aimed at the real people in their advertising. Together, we would create a unique broadcast moment to shine a light on this darkest of issues.
This moment had to capitalise on the public’s shock.
We designed a supporting communications plan to bring the issue into everyday life across a broad demographic spectrum. We worked with partners who supported our cause, and chose channels and platforms that would drive frequency of message and spark conversations using the #TogetherAgainstHate hashtag.
#TogetherAgainstHate was a unique ad-break takeover in hit Channel 4 show, “Gogglebox”.
“Gogglebox” shows real families and friends of all shapes, sizes and creeds, reacting to and discussing what they see on television – exactly what we wanted to provoke with our message.
Each advertiser’s TVC was treated with a powerful overlay showing the real abuse it had generated. The Nationwide ad showed racial slurs; Maltesers highlighted disability abuse whilst McCain’s adappeared with homophobic comments.
As the ad-break aired, we launched content from 50 micro-influencers, sharing their online hate experiences to further conversation.
We ran a special report week on Global Radio’s LBC (the UK’s premier talk radio station) discussing the issue with a Member of Parliament, The Cybersmile Foundation, psychologists and Nationwide, reaching 7.3 million listeners.
Outdoor vendors (Clear Channel, Outdoor Plus and Primesight) also pledged support, offering free digital media inventory, delivering 2 million impacts.
#TogetherAgainstHate prompted an outpouring of public support.
We reached 42% of UK adults in a week – for just £350,000 media investment.
We trended No.1 on Twitter as our ad-break aired, generating significant PR from national news outlets, radio stations and industry publications.
Nationwide’s brand health tracking saw significant uplifts and the activity contributed to highest-ever scores (year-on-year since tracking began in 2014) in the key measures of “Brand I can Trust” and“Care More about Meeting Customer Needs Than Maximising Profit”, as at December 20181. It also created an overwhelming response from Nationwide’s own workforce, who praised their marketing colleagues for demonstrating Nationwide’s values so bravely.
Channel 4’s research ranked the campaign as their most impactful ever – with highest-ever scores for “stand out”, “shock” and “instigating a positive change”.
Finally, #TogetherAgainstHate won trade publication Marketing Week’s Campaign of the Year, winning 70% of the public vote.