HSBC Promo, Case study SOAP BOX by J. Walter Thompson New York

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Industry Banking
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency J. Walter Thompson New York
Executive Creative Director Kash Sree. Walt Connelly
Creative Director Josh Kilmer-Purcell
Art Director Mark Grundland
Copywriter Chuck Pagano
Producer Tadd Ryan
Editor Joe Walker, Will Barton
Released July 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Special Events and Stunt/Live Advertising
Advertiser: HSBC
Product/Service: HSBC BANK
Agency: JWT
Date of First Appearance: Jul 16 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: JWT, New York, USA
Chief Creative Officer: Ty Montague (JWT North America)
Chief Creative Officer: Harvey Marco (JWT New York)
Executive Creative Director: Walt Connelly (JWT New York)
Creative Director: Josh Kilmer-Purcell (JWT New York)
Creative Director/Copywriter: Dinesh Kapoor (JWT New York)
Creative Director/Art Director: Michael Ashley (JWT New York)
Copywriter: Chuck Pagano (JWT New York)
Art Director: Mark Grundland (JWTNew York)
Editor: Will Barton (JWT New York)
Editor: Joe Walker (JWT New York)
Executive Producer: Caroline Coleman (JWT New York)
Producer: Tadd Ryan (JWT New York)
Digital Media Company: (Neo)
Media placement: Viral Teaser - Digital Search/display, Local NYC TV, Radio And Taxi TV - 7 July 2009
Media placement: Soapbox Event - Madison Square Park, NYC - 16 July 2009
Media placement: OOH - NYC Storescapes & Wallscapes, Times Square Billboard, Grand Central Takeover, Ti - 6 July 2009
Media placement: TV Campaign - 3 Spots - NY State Local Network/cable - 5 August 2009
Media placement: Cinema - NCM & Screenvision Theaters - NYS - 10 August 2009
Media placement: In-Flight/Airport TV - Jet Blue/CNN Network - 17 August 2009
Media placement: Online Forum - - 10 August 2009
Media placement: Print Ads Campaign - NY Times, Daily News, NY Mag, Newsday, NY Observer, Timeout NY, Buffalo News, Ro - 5 October 2010
Media placement: Triple Cover Sponsorship - The New Yorker - 12 October 2010
Media placement: Microsite And Online Sponsorship - NBC Local New York Microsite With Traffic Driving From - 14 October 2010

Results and Effectiveness
The soapbox was more than a metaphor, it was a megaphone. Over 800 New Yorkers stood on soapboxes. Thousands spoke up online. Millions watched the TV spots. There were 2,932,470 media impressions including WSJ Digits, a WSJ Op-Ed piece, and event photo in New York Times and an additional 50,000+ MeetUp impressions. Brand awareness and affinity? We increased both by 80% YOY. More importantly, HSBC listened and changed the way it did business: They enlisted specialists for the GLBT market; set new reduction targets for water use and CO2 emissions; and announced a $10 million children’s education global initiative.

Creative Execution
We encouraged HSBC to think outside the box — by encouraging people to stand on one. On July 16th, at Madison Square Park HSBC invited all types of New Yorkers to stand on soapboxes and share their values on topics ranging from immigration to children to technology. They were encouraged to share what they valued so that in turn, HSBC could better meet their unique needs. These shared values were captured and broadcast via a 360 “surround sound” approach including three TV spots, radio, print, online, social media, PR, and out of home to increase visibility. We also focused on “never been done before” programmes that would garner additional buzz and impressions through PR like a digital partnership with New York magazine featuring a forum of their most prolific commenters and web channel with 15 videos of real, unscripted New Yorkers, and an innovative and highly engaging website.

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
The idea: Lean into HSBC’s strength, understanding the diversity of values, by giving the people of one of the most iconic melting pots a voice to express what they value most and in turn, share that with the world. HSBC, “The world’s local bank,” is differentiated by a network in over 85 countries and territories. This globality allows HSBC to understand the differences in what people value. However, it’s the action taken locally that really matters. In 2009, amidst an unprecedented economic meltdown, people in the US were reappraising what was most important to them; their values. Despite being a global giant, HSBC is a relatively unknown challenger brand in the US Brand awareness and affinity are some of the lowest in the category. The challenge was to move these measures by targeting a mass affluent audience whose confidence level and trust in banks was at an all time low.