According to a new campaign from HSBC, taking out a loan has long been seen as taboo by Hong Kong people at large. In light of this HSBC saw an opportunity to lead a behavioral shift towards destigmatizing loans and credit card lending, to “progressively expand our customer base by dissociating loan, or ‘future money (未來錢)’ in local culture, from its pre-existing reputation,” the company said in a release.
Teaming up with MSL, the bank set out to change the perception of cashing out on credit, not through low-interest rates or cash rebates, but with unscripted, organic conversations.
While up-and-comers aged 20-35 were identified as the key demographic because of their potential to gain a greater understanding of loan products and the financial flexibility they provide, HSBC offers a diverse range of products that cover financial needs across the full spectrum of life stages.
The HSBC Loans and Lending campaign began in August 2023. At the teaser stage, the topic was spread to online communities, instigating discussions between YouTubers, influencers and netizens. Online, on the streets and in digital media, one simple question was raised: Should one spend their ‘future money’? Polarising answers, as expected, generated extensive discussions, press coverage and even viral memes on the topic, paving the way for the launch phase.
An experiential campaign without a script
As the conversation continued to simmer, the campaign’s main video was launched to capitalise on the socially relevant topic. Featuring not only KOLs, but also camera-fresh faces from diverse backgrounds, the video was a refreshing departure from the typical loan campaign tropes. Reflecting the brand’s neutral stance on ‘future money’, the video impartially covered unscripted opinions across the spectrum, welcoming the audience to join the internal debate.
Essentially a series of one-on-one interviews put on a brisk viewing pace, the video put each guest in the hot seat to share their often-relatable needs and ambitions in life, and lead the viewers to re-evaluate if and how ‘future money’ can be used for their benefit. Instead of leading the masses into believing there is one ultimate way to use their credit, the campaign opened their eyes to possibilities made available by tapping into one’s prospective financial capabilities, and encouraged the campaign audience to ponder how their plans can be empowered by aptly managing the future stream of money at the present.
While online conversations and social interactions form the core of the campaign, accompanying media, both digital and physical, were launched to amplify the campaign message throughout, and product offerings by the sustaining phase. Seamlessly transitioning from mass awareness to customer conversion, a series of Ads Creative Studio (ACS) videos was mass-developed with the campaign’s diverse audience in mind. Over 140 contextually relevant YouTube ads went live on the platform, amplifying the campaign message and simultaneously introducing to the highly segmented audience HSBC loans and lending products personalised to fit their interests and daily experiences.
Cheuk Shum, Head of Marketing, Wealth & Personal Banking, HSBC, said, “As a Hong Kong’s leading bank, we take it upon ourselves to challenge the status quo and bring new financial perspectives to the public. When planned and used wisely, a loan can be a life-changing financial tool, and we’re determined to empower Hong Kong people with the choice and knowledge to make the most of their potential, future or present. This is a long way from the traditional incentives-driven campaign, and as marketers, we’re glad to have taken this bold step to ignite societal changes and develop a more profound, genuine connection with our target audience. Behaviours don’t change overnight, but this is the first of many moves to break down the cultural barrier and lead our society towards a more open-minded attitude when it comes to unlocking opportunities in life with future money. “
Alexis Chiu, Group Managing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi and MSL, added, “It’s always a pleasure to work with HSBC on these culturally impactful campaigns. By challenging our deep-rooted perception on loans and lending products, our team was able to unearth precious financial insights from all walks of life, and transform them into creative assets to engage our audience to re-examine the meaning of future money.
At its core, the campaign was fuelled by human truth and emotions, and thankfully it managed to break some long-existing presumptions. As these discussions go on, I believe our collective understanding of future money, as well as financial literacy in general, will only continue to evolve.”