NS&I defies the recession

Scores rise as National Savings & Investments ad claims half the UK trusts it with their savings.

NS&I ad featuring Alan Sugar
NS&I ad featuring Alan Sugar

It is difficult to read a newspaper or watch the news on TV without some reference to how the global financial landslide has affected the nation.

Just when the dust appears to have settled from the latest casualty, a new name arrives to replace it on the front pages.

Take the Royal Bank of Scotland fallout, for instance. After several weeks as the leading story in the news, the spotlight on Sir Fred Goodwin has shifted to focus on the downfall of the Dunfermline Building Society. Luckily for the brand, Nationwide appears to be ready to step in and rescue Dunfermline, although the next giant to tumble may not be so fortunate.

In these uncertain times, only a handful of companies are making headway - and one brand that appears to be weathering the storm better than most is National Savings & Investments.

The latest advertising campaign for the company, which first aired on 17 March, features celebrity heavyweights such as Bob Geldof, Stephen Hawking, Germaine Greer and Sir Alan Sugar.

The message of the ad is clear: as Germaine Greer notes, almost half the population of the UK trusts NS&I with their savings.

Each celebrity refers to investments made by customers online in the past year, and a link to the NS&I website is displayed alongside each appearance. In this way, the ad acts as a call to action for direct channel access - it raises awareness that savers can invest directly with NS&I, rather than going through an intermediary such as the Post Office.

BrandIndex shows a positive increase in scores for the brand following the launch of the new campaign.

On 16 March, the day before the ad first aired, buzz, value for money and recommend scores for the brand sat at -1, 0 and +6 respectively.

But when the first splash of the campaign ended on 24 March, recommend scores had peaked at +10, having increased four points in the space of a week. The value for money and buzz scores for the brand went on to peak at +4 (up four points) and +2 (up three points) respectively.

The initial uplift looks promising for the government-backed savings agency and, with further runs of the campaign in the pipeline, NS&I is well-positioned for the months ahead.

METHODOLOGY: YouGov interviews 2,000 people each weekday to form its BrandIndex, a daily measure of public perception of more than 1,100 consumer brands across 32 sectors. It is measured on a seven-point profile:
1. Buzz
2. General impression
3. Quality
4. Value
5. Satisfaction
6. Recommend
7. Corporate reputation.
In addition, we supply an index score.

Richard Wood, www.brandindex.co.uk

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