Why HSBC is using World Emoji Day to promote its new brand platform

Who: HSBC and Wunderman Thompson, with Touché for media.

What: A new advertising platform that celebrates being open-minded and the value of diverse opinions.

When & Where: The integrated campaign launched a few days ago. It’s heavy on digital, with print, radio and some OOH. There’s also a special effort for World Emoji day (yeah, it’s a thing, and it’s today so… Happy World Emoji Day!!!).

Why: The new platform, which was more than a year in development, is a made-in-Canada take on the global positioning of “Together we Thrive,” says Cindy Wong, HSBC’s regional head of marketing, North America. “What we needed to do is go down a layer to what does ‘Together we Thrive’ mean in Canada,” she said.

The answer was to focus on the importance and value of diversity in Canada—not just of people and cultures, but of points of view and opinions. While diversity benefits society as a whole, HSBC has adopted it as a marketing platform by highlighting its ability to also be a force for growth. They call it the “rocket fuel to prosperity.”

“The line that we have is that people, communities and businesses will always thrive the most when they share and remain open minded,” said Wong.

How: The main thrust of the ad creative emphasizes openness, and showcases a wide range of people with different points of view and experiences, all of whom “bank with us”—a connecting line that runs through various executions (“Canadians from all over the world bank with us,” and “Newcomers, long-timers and in-betweeners bank with us,” for example).

What about the emoji? Wunderman Thompson created an Open Minds emoji. Anyone using the hashtag #OpenMinds will get the emoji of a man and woman of different ethnic backgrounds sharing thoughts with one another.

Short videos introduce both the emoji and the hashtag, which will be available for the next four weeks. HSBC and Wunderman Thompson have also submitted the emoji to the Unicode consortium to consider making it a permanent addition to the emoji catalogue next year.

Twitter is a place where lots of opinions are shared, said Wunderman Thompson executive creative director Ari Elkouby. “We thought it would be great if we could give the twitterverse a little reminder to keep an open mind, so before you respond or retweet something that you personally believe and have for a long period of time, maybe now is an opportunity to stop and consider another point of view.”

And we quote: “The main insight is that we are an open-minded bank and we value diversity and different thoughts and innovations. We would like to be the most interesting person at the dinner table, that is the kind of thing we want to celebrate.” —Cindy Wong, regional head of marketing, North America, HSBC

David Brown