The Arthur Webb Challenge
Agency: Good Relations
With a goal to achieve £100 million in efficient cost savings, building society Nationwide needed a campaign that helped colleagues understand the rationale for the drive, improved collaboration and innovation but also empowered them to take the initiative.
Recognising that a finance-led campaign would not work, Nationwide went through its archives where it found inspiration in Arthur Webb who led Nationwide during the wars. Webb, whose father was a founder of Nationwide, then called believed building societies provided a golden opportunity to raise the living standards of millions of people. On his retirement in 1951, he presented the Arthur Webb Trophy to Nationwide to be awarded each year to the branch or office that made the most ‘outstanding contribution’ to the society’s ‘prestige and progress’. The tradition ended in the early 70s - but has now been relaunched for the social media generation as the Arthur Webb Challenge Cup.
Creating a multi-channel campaign that connected Nationwide’s past with its future, the society kicked off with a film I am Arthur, narrated by chief executive Joe Garner that featured colleagues promoting their efficiency ideas - both practical and outlandish. Webb was known for his impressive facial hair, so each colleague donned a moustache prop to declare I am Arthur as they revealed their ideas.
Briefing packs, which included campaign posters, an ideation poster that took teams through exercises to identify inefficiencies and generate ideas, digital briefing documents and false moustaches, were sent to managers of front line teams. Around 200 leaders were targeted to promote the challenge and act as sponsors for these teams. Nationwide’s news channels shared examples of efficiencies, demonstrating how these contributed to the total cost savings, and highlighted some of the projects that teams were collaborating on. A moustache selfie competition was also launched, encouraging colleagues to share images with the hashtag #IAmArthur.
With more than 4,100 views at launch, the I am Arthur video is one of Nationwide’s most watched films this year. The campaign has since accumulated more than 88,000 views. It also generated more than 295 ideas, submitted from across the society, which translated into 110 projects involving 609 colleagues, or ‘Arthurs’, focused on people, processes and saving waste.
Within six months, teams across Nationwide had delivered more than £2 million in efficiency savings. ‘It was brave to take a difficult topic like cost cutting and create an engaging and positive campaign which achieved results,’ said the judges. ‘We loved the way they used their heritage in such a strong way. It’s original and unique and very authentic to Nationwide.’