HSBC soars in stunning elevator film

by The One Centre

11

June, 2015

11th June 2015

HSBC has launched a film to promote its business banking services, and it might just be one of the best brand films you watch this year.

It’s never just business. That’s the message behind a stunning new film from HSBC. It’s part of a major global campaign from the bank, which aims to explore the human side of running a business – the people and ambitions behind the numbers.

The film depicts the many challenges of starting a company from a start-up to a multinational corporation.

The 90-second film follows the 40-year career of one businessman from the launch of his company in 1974 to the present day.  The film depicts the growth, the challenges, the failures and the successes of the businessman and his company as it grows from a start-up to a multinational corporation. And the entire story takes place in a lift.

The fashion, hair styles and décor changes, and we watch as our businessman ages, as the lift continues on its journey up, and sometimes down, the building in a superb metaphor for the journey of a business.

In a beautiful example of showing rather than telling, ‘The Lift’ features no dialogue or narration. It is storytelling at its best. It was created by advertising agency Grey London and Gary Freedman of The Glue Society through Independent Films.

 

“Yes, it’s a lift journey but it’s the most extraordinary lift journey in the world.”

Nick Rowland, Creative Director at Grey London, said, “The lift film is really a metaphor for the journey of a business and the people that run it. It takes us through time, and you get to see and feel the events in the lifecycle of a business. Yes, it’s a lift journey but it’s the most extraordinary lift journey in the world.”

This film is a mesmerising masterpiece. It is a superbly crafted piece of storytelling that succeeds in telling a very human story. The beauty of the film lies in the simplicity, which leaves the viewer room to project their own emotions onto the story.

The strategy for HSBC is evident: To make the big corporate bank feel human. But more specifically this is a business banking ad. The aim of the ad is to appeal to small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs and HSBC has identified that the key to these businesses is the people behind them. Sure there’s nothing new in the insight, or even the strategy, but where HSBC really differentiates the brand is in the execution.

The new and bold direction by turning to emotive storytelling has certainly paid off.

We are all too familiar with the usual bank ads that target small businesses, the ones where we meet the florist or the shoe designer and we learn all about how they got started and the role their bank manager played. These ads are so common they basically write themselves. HSBC and Grey have sought to take a new and bold direction by turning to emotive storytelling and it has certainly paid off.

“The restriction allowed us to really develop creative, often unexpected, ideas.”

Gary Freedman of The Glue Society says: “This is about the journey of a business but at its core, it is a human story and very much centered around a main character, covering all the emotional ups and downs of his life. Telling such an expansive story within the confines of a lift was a very interesting challenge, but that restriction allowed us to really develop creative, often unexpected, ideas.”

The film, which launched yesterday, is attracting a lot of attention and will no doubt benefit from the obvious comparisons to Mad Men, which had a fondness for elevator scenes. The positive awareness and attention for the film is much needed, given the brand has made a lot of headlines recently for all the wrong reasons, from dodgy dealings to mass layoffs. Many have questioned the ironic timing of an ad about people launching on the day the business announces plans to axe 50,000 jobs.

 

Credits

Article By: The One Centre
Ideas and innovation company
Twitter @onecentregroup

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