The currency of kindness: working for Nationwide

Sometimes when you’re commissioned to write a poem, it’s a mixed blessing. Poetry isn’t copywriting; if you can’t believe in the thing you’re writing about, it will sound fake. In poetry (as in sex) you can fake it, but the other party will know.

But this was different. When the Nationwide asked me to join their new advertising campaign,  I expected the usual patter – ‘We are passionate about financial products’ etc. Instead, I found myself talking to people who really believe in the company. Having spent this week at the Nationwide’s conference with colleagues from The Poetry Takeaway, I can confirm that the people who work there seem to love it. They liked my poem too.

Many people have said that they like the idea of ‘the currency of kindness’. The poem was written the day after Donald Trump was elected. Kindness seemed especially necessary and especially valuable on that day, and we surely need it more than ever now.

Not all of my poems are about building societies, in fact only one of them is. Many of them are about friendship,some are about living on a boat, and quite a few are on relationships with all their delights and difficulties. My poetry book Kith is available here. If you’re keen to develop a poetry habit yourself, then you might enjoy my best-selling work book 52: Write a Poem a Week, which does what it says on the tin.


Published by Jo Bell

Poet, boater, archaeologist and former director of the UK's National Poetry Day. One third of @OnThisDayShe. Erstwhile UK Canal Laureate.

14 thoughts on “The currency of kindness: working for Nationwide

  1. As it happens I’ve just switched to Nationwide as they pay relatively generous interest on quite small amounts! I was pleasantly surprised then to learn they do not have Shareholders and the staff seemed genuinely to enjoy being of help.
    Love the poem

  2. Interesting post! Nice to hear a positive outcome and when I can get organised I will be ordering your books again … have you any more copies of the ‘overheard things one’ who’s title escapes me, because I lent my signed copy to another writer, can’t remember who it was now (several potential culprits) … if you have any spare left, I would happily add it to my list! Deckchair 🙂

    PS: I have tried to enter my web address below but it seems to be not liking the address so ….. It is:

  3. I really like this series of adverts, positive in so many ways, but what is the music in the background to this ad please

  4. I saw you at the cinema last night, and came on here to say that it was just wonderful! And after the ad finished, the couple behind me clapped!

  5. Just had the pleasure of viewing the Nationwide tv commercial a couple of times and love it. Your poem is very moving and uplifting. Will invest in your books. All the best!

  6. Hi Jo
    I love poetry but have no idea who is who in the poetry world. I tend to stick to my favourites and discover new poets by accident. Wow! What a discovery you are! Love your poem for the building society. I knew you’d be a professional poet from the wonderful way it was written, and from your performance I knew that you believed in the values you were talking about. Have seen Carol Ann Duffy and her glowing recommendation of you speaks volumes. Will you be performing in Edinburgh at any point? Also, I’m not sure how to order your book Kith for £4.99 as you mentioned. Am I too late? Andy (Andrea)

    1. Andy – where it says ” My poetry book Kith is on special offer for only £4.99 here” click on the word ‘here’ for the link!

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