Nationwide revisits Victorian era to tell the story of the Idles – its first customers

The latest iteration of 'Voices Nationwide', for which the building society has turned from everyone from singing sisters to spoken words poets to showcase the bulding society's sense of purpose, revisits the Victorian era to let viewers meet its first mortgage customers.

Developed by longstanding creative agency VCCP, 'Mortgage Number One', tells the tale of Alfred and Elizabeth Idle. The couple signed on the dotted line to get the first ever Nationwide mortgage in 1884, and the ad recounts the difficulty of life for the working classes in Victorian Britain and their struggle for home ownership.

The agency worked closely with the descendants of the Idle family to ensure that they stayed true to their story, and retold it exactly as it was.

Looking to sets the scene for the origins of the values that the brand claims still holds true today, the spot was written and performed by poet Jo Bell and it aims to highlight Nationwide’s difference: positioning it as a building society as opposed to a bank.

Jim Thornton, deputy executive creative director at VCCP said it was a joy to work on a brand with "such a rich and socially beneficial history that still informs everything it does today."

On Bell's prose, he added: "It’s even more of a joy to work with an artist who so beautifully encapsulates that history in just 45 seconds each. Makes our job very easy."

The ad follows on from the recent appointment of 'This Girl Can' marketer Tanya Joseph to a purpose-driven external relations role at Nationwide, where she will focus on issues related to housing.

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