National Housing Federation

Busting myths on shared ownership


Shared ownership; essentially, another way to buy a home. But there’s a cloud of confusion around what it actually means.

Representing housing associations across the country, The National Housing Federation needed a nationwide campaign to set the record straight – as well as practical, long-term changes to the way different organisations talked about shared ownership in their own comms.


With an audience disillusioned by the housing market, our campaign needed to do three things: cut through cynicism with honesty, simplify and unify the language around shared ownership, and truly resonate with people.

After travelling to various major regions across England we’d heard it all: worries about flat-sharing, confusion with separate government schemes, concerns about length of stay and personal responsibility. The campaign concept was simple: tell everyone what shared ownership is, and what it absolutely isn’t.

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We wrote a series of humorous, and sometimes provocative, statements about shared ownership. These statements were verified with our trustmark ‘That’s what shared ownership means’, or branded nonsense: ‘That’s not what shared ownership means’ – public service announcement style. We tailored our messaging for different regions’ wants and needs, sometimes getting as localised as your street.

The result was a bold, straight-talking campaign, existing as a series of OOH pieces which directed our audience to an educational microsite which elaborated on the finer points and set the record straight, once and for all. We also developed a centralised campaign hub for housing associations across the country, helping them unify their terminology and communicate in a consistent way around shared ownership, from here on out.

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The campaign has already reached over 6 million people, delivering 80,000 new users to the campaign website, We look forward to seeing the continued impact of this campaign in the future.

" Fixing the problems of awareness and understanding meant boosting the profile of shared ownership on a scale that's never been done before, as well as making sure that we all talk about it in a clear and consistent way. DesignStudio have done a fantastic job, helping us to come up with a clear, compelling campaign to set the record straight. Now, we've managed to reach tens of thousands of people to explain what shared ownership is, and what it isn't."Ella Cheney, Shared Ownership Programme Manager at the National Housing Federation

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