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Nationwide launches 'Respect Starts Small' campaign on TV and Twitter to promote respect in grassroots football

David Murphy

Nationwide Building Society has launched a ‘Respect Starts Small’ campaign, promoting respect within grassroots football. Devised by agency of record, VCCP London, the campaign is part of Nationwide’s three-year partnership with The FA and communicates the importance of mutual respect in football. The campaign shows how powerful it is to champion respect in the early years of childhood and also serves as a reminder to parents of the powerful impact of positive support from the sidelines. It will run across TV and Twitter, with media planning and buying by Wavemaker. 

The centrepiece of the campaign is a 60-second film starring 11 year old Aysia, a talented young female footballer, as she plays in a series of football matches with her teammates. The creative is voiced over by Aysia herself, as she opens up candidly about the range of emotions, both positive and negative she feels when playing football, often influenced by those who are closest to her.

The soundbites include the things she tells herself when she plays; the emotional ways she tries to overcome doubts on the pitch; and the words she remembers from adults that boost her confidence and allow her to play well. The creative cuts between different times of day, varying types of weather and the different football kits that Aysia wears to create the feeling of a passage of time. Aysia is a representation of all the young girls who share a love and passion for the game, as she stresses how “girls can do what boys can do, and boys can do what girls can do”. The film concludes with the message: “iif we believe in them, they’ll believe in themselves”. 

On Twitter, Nationwide is rolling out a supporting campaign in a bid to address the shocking amount of online hate that women in football receive. Nationwide asked young females from local grassroots football clubs and primary schools to pen letters addressed to adults and football fans with their advice on how to tackle hate. Nationwide believes that respect should start small, and the letters highlight that children as young as six understand the concept of respect. 

“We want to help create a society that’s built on mutual respect, and so wanted to play our part by promoting this message in a meaningful way,” said Mark Brayton, Nationwide Building Society Marketing Director. “Nationwide Building Society was founded on a clear social purpose, and our commitment to supporting our members and the society we live in remains today. Thanks to our partnership with The FA, we’re encouraging positive behaviours and sharing our perspective that ‘Respect Starts Small.’ Thanks to VCCP for handling our new campaign with creativity, care, and attention.”