In October last year, Nationwide published a controversial ad featuring actor Dominic West that drew complaints from rival bank Santander and is currently being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ad, which portrays the head of a fake big bank who mocks customers and plans to close branches, has faced criticism since its release.
Nationwide confirmed the complaint made by Santander, while Santander declined to comment on the matter. The claims made by Nationwide in the advertisement come as several High Street banks, including Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and Santander, have announced branch closures as customers increasingly switch to online banking. In contrast, Nationwide has made a “branch pledge” to keep all its existing branches open until at least 2026 unless there are circumstances beyond their control.
The ASA received a complaint about the ad shortly after it was published, and an investigation is still ongoing. In the ad, West presents a large expense account for a company lunch while discussing downsizing and closing branches. The controversial ad has been met with criticism from many viewers who believe it is misleading and discredits competitors in the banking industry.