HSBC Case study SERIOUS PLAY (Video) by J. Walter Thompson London

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Industry Banking, Business equipment & services, Corporate Image
Media Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency J. Walter Thompson London
Director Ash Bolland
Executive Creative Director Russell Ramsey
Creative Director Daniel Hennessy, Iain Weatherby
Art Director Simon Sworn
Copywriter Matt Chandler
Producer Tara Riddell
Account Supervisor Rollo Gwyn-Jones
Editor James Rosen
Released May 2013


Cannes Lions 2013
Media Lions Use of Media; Best Use of Branded Content & Sponsorship Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Use of Media
Category: Best Use of Branded Content & Sponsorship
Advertiser: HSBC
Product/Service: HSBC
Executive Creative Director: Russell Ramsey (JWT)
Global Hsbc Creative Director: Axel Chaldecott (JWT)
Creative Director: Daniel Hennessy (JWT)
Creative Director: Iain Weatherby (JWT)
Copywriter: Matt Chandler (JWT)
Art Director: Simon Sworn (JWT)
Account Director: Tanya Hamilton-Smith (JWT)
Account Supervisor: Rollo Gwyn-Jones (JWT)
Planner: Orlando Hooper-Greenhill (JWT)
Agency TV Producer: Romilla Sanassy (JWT)
Director: Ash Bolland (Curious Film)
Producer: Tara Riddell (Curious Film)
Editor: James Rosen (Final Cut)
Sound Design: Dan Weinbery (Greek Street Studios)
Print Producer: Romana Kit (JWT)
Coin Producer: Emma White (JWT)
Coin Design: Matt Dent (Bison Bison)

Results and Effectiveness

An entire stadium of 40,000 people jumped and cheered when the opening chords of House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ played — over 280,000 watched it online.
Buzz and speculation crept around the stadium as 10,000 coins were given out. Those who had got their hands on one proudly displayed them. Coins were tossed, bounced and flicked as fans settled scores, played games and decided what to do next.
Magicians made them disappear and famous rugby players made them valuable. And to finish off the weekend the coins were used as a voting device for charity as people left.

Creative Execution

Understanding the consumer journey to the HK7’s was vital for campaign implementation with over half of the audience flying in.
The campaign started three weeks before the tournament with posters and videos across 30 branches in the city including a headquarter takeover of HSBC. Rich media banners, targeting people preparing for the weekend and accentuating the duality of Serious Play, seeded the idea of the coin.
The week before, press and outdoor maximized the Serious Play message in key sites. Airport posters welcomed people as they landed in Hong Kong. Rugby ambassadors announced it via social media, a 90” commercial went viral five days before the tournament.
Further online content including a magician doing tricks with the coins built the crescendo to the Friday whereupon media climaxed with a thumping stadium commercial bringing fans to their feet as 10,000 Serious Play coins were given out.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

The Hong Kong Sevens is a flagship event for HSBC. Hong Kong, the birthplace of the bank, comes alive each March for a weekend of world-class rugby and equally impressive fun from the fans.
We were briefed with the marketing objectives of capturing the enthusiasm and imagination of the audience on an emotional level and getting those in the stadium on their feet. Audience participation in the stadium, around HK and virally with the brand was central to this.
Our answer, a campaign that celebrated the duality of rugby and fun. An idea that understood that, for this weekend, people took having fun very seriously.
Serious/Play was born.
We created a coin that literally displayed the two sides of the event. In an environment of banter and bar games, we gave rugby fans a way to decide contests and play games – whilst putting HSBC at the heart of the action.