Product / ServiceHSBC
CategoryA04. Best Use of Brand Sponsorship Integration (where there is no product overtly displayed in the film,

The Campaign

This campaign appeared in and around the Hong Kong Stadium during the Hong Kong Sevens tournament. Due to the high profile nature of this event in Hong Kong, there are many people involved in approving work, ranging from the HKRFU, who run the event, to other event stakeholders. Various representatives, including senior police officials responsible for fans' behaviour, form a stadium committee who in effect 'regulate' the work.


HSBC were returning sponsors to the Hong Kong Sevens after 15 years absence. The challenge was to demonstrate their understanding of this unique event, and that it was good to be back. It was about how a brand can make the right impression. The objectives were to entertain fans, and engage the business community and staff with a message that showed that this was a big brand, but one that could have a bit of fun. The strategy was based in a connection between fans approach to the weekend, the rugby, and the HSBC brand. Fans take the HK Sevens very seriously, as a party. More effort is put into this party than any other. Fancy dress is a must, and nights are long. Sevens is fast paced play and the HK event is the pinnacle. HSBC wanted to share this passion, show their commitment to HK, and that they have a human side. Serious Play combined this into a rallying cry. It first appeared in posters in the city, along with high profile tram wraps. As the tournament approached a long form film was aired on Youtube and shown at key social events. Jason Robinson, cameo star in the film, tweeted his excitement along with a link to the film, massively increasing exposure. Once the event began, the stadium was plastered with posters, hospitality suites were decorated with Serious Play artwork and fancy dress costumes for DJ's and the more adventurous corporate guests. 5 films played on the stadium big screens entertaining the crowd in between matches. And it was wrapped up with a 6th film offering a message of thanks for the efforts of the fans making the event what it was, of course with a playful twinkle in the eye.

The audience were drawn to the content in two main ways. On the ground, high profile poster sites advertised the Serious Play content, press ads directed people with QR codes whilst ambient media, like headbands and beermats, continued to push the message. Online the content was seeded in event related websites, with banners, on facebook, and promoted on Twitter by rugby star players all pointing people towards the Serious Play content.

This campaign was all about the brand making the right impression during the event, and as such the measurements are mostly soft ones. There were specifically no hard objectives around product or sales. The objective of creating excitement and awareness around the Hong Kong Sevens was evident in the response of the crowds. Fans cheered the films when they began, hummed the music, and even gossiped about a rumour that the police had banned the film from airing on TV for being a bit violent. The film and story of Serious Play was picked up in numerous blogs, received thousands of tweets and Facebook shares, with close to 500,000 views on YouTube, compared to 30,000 for Cathay's film. People were inspired by the film to turn up in the same fancy dress, and cameo stars Jason Robinson and George Gregan, were so into it they spent the day dressed as characters from the film. Pictures of the creative even featured in fan's personal YouTube videos as a memento of their 2012 Hong Kong Sevens' experience. The pride amongst HSBC's staff was summed up by the Group CEO who described it as 'bloody brilliant'.


Name Company Position
Chris Clark Hsbc Group Head Of Marketing
Andrea Newman Hsbc Group Head Of Advertising And Marketing Communications
Giles Morgan Hsbc Group Head Of Sponsorship
Heather Link Hsbc Head Of Campaign Management
Axel Chaldecott Jwt Global Creative Director/Teamhsbc
Daniel Hennessy Jwt Global Creative Director/Teamhsbc
Orlando Hooper-Greenhill Jwt Chief Strategy Officer/Teamhsbc
Kevin Masters Jwt Creative
Miles Bingham Jwt Creative
Tanya Hamilton-Smith Jwt Board Account Director
Rollo Gwyn-Jones Jwt Account Manager
Stuart Heyburn Jwt Head Of Project Management
Romila Sanassy Jwt Producer
Paul Middleditch Director
Peter Whitemore The Editors Editor
Andy Packer Annex Films Editor
Sam Ashwell 750mph Sound
Rick Guest Print Photographer
Joe Petyan Jwt Executive Partner
Lucy Barrett Jwt Head Of Pr