Most Britons enjoyed Nationwide’s Dominic West Ad – but agree it should be banned
April 23rd, 2024, Matt Palframan

Most Britons enjoyed Nationwide’s Dominic West Ad – but agree it should be banned

Nationwide’s TV ads starring Dominic West as a haughty bank manager were recently banned after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) declared them to be misleading. The TV spots featured the Wire and Crown actor taking a swipe at rival banks that had closed their branches – when Nationwide itself had shuttered physical locations in 2023. 

New YouGov data can reveal what Britons make of the building society brouhaha.

The good news for Nationwide is that Britons, by and large, like the ad. Over half (55%) said they enjoyed the commercial after watching it as part of our survey, while just one in six (17%) said they did not. There’s also evidence that the ad has had strong market penetration: three in five (61%) respondents said they had seen it before being polled. 

The bad news for Nationwide is that, when presented with the basis for the ASA’s ruling, most think banning the ad was the right thing to do. Three in five agreed with the decision to take the commercial off the air (58%), while just one in six disagreed (16%). When asked how the ruling influenced attitudes towards Nationwide, 37% said they felt more negatively about the building society, and 14% said they felt more positive. 

So the ads have been ruled misleading, and the public agree with that appraisal. But there is an argument for them returning to the air in modified, less-misleading form. We presented Britons with a number of statements about the advert, and asked them whether they agreed or disagreed. Most said it was clever (61%), that it was a fair reflection of what banks are actually like (59%), and they enjoyed watching it (49%). 

Britons were also more likely than not to say they felt more positive about Nationwide (49%), that it made them laugh (46%), and that they were more likely to consider using the building society as a result of seeing the ad (35%). 

Overall, we can say, with some caveats, that the ad has been successful with British viewers. As caveats go, however, an ASA ruling that keeps the ad off the air entirely is a pretty big one. The lesson for Nationwide, and other institutions looking to take a pop at their rivals, then, is an ancient one: first take the beam – or the branch – out of thine own eye. 

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