Nationwide building society has rushed to defend a pair of singing sisters who star in its current advertising campaign after the duo were subjected to a tirade of abuse by disgruntled viewers – culminating in a series of death threats.
Nicola and Rose Dempsey, aka comedy duet Flo and Joan, sparked mixed emotions after harnessing their songwriting talents to pen a number of catchy verses encouraging viewers to sign up for financial products.
Rather than rush to sign up for a mortgage or ISA, however, many of those subjected to the ditties have instead chosen to pen derogatory messages online, detailing precisely what fates they would like to befall the pair.
Even Nationwide's official YouTube account is littered with unflattering anonymous comments including "I will go out of my way and make sure never to use nationwide in my entire life. Because of this" and "I came here to dislike and complain, that's how much this ad pisses me off".
Responding to the unwanted attention, Nationwide's chief marketing officer Sara Bennison confirmed that the bank had now called in the Metropolitan Police over the social media trolls, telling OK! Online: “Social media has provided a great instant barometer of reaction - good and bad. The huge amount of likes and shares have been great.
“But then there are others who have chosen to post the most vile, abusive and misogynistic comments about the duo. It is not just our Flo & Joan adverts that generate these comments, it is also our adverts that feature people of different colours, backgrounds and perceived sexuality, which attract the most criticism.
“That is why Nationwide is looking to work with other brands, industry bodies, such as ISBA, and the Met Police to look at the true scale of this worrying trend to spread hate from behind a keyboard and attempt to create a solution to tackle the issue.
“It’s one thing not to like an advert, another to threaten to kill the stars of it. Abuse is abuse and that’s never OK in our book."
Nationwide's reliance on artists saw it previously find its voice with poets.