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Nobel Perspectives: What it takes to be human

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In 2008 the global economy faced its most dangerous crisis since the 1930’s Depression. UBS needed to restructure in a bid to stand apart from its competition, as modern, human and different.

To differentiate, UBS chose to explore the questions that shape our world through the minds of past Nobel Laureates in economic science. UBS partnered with broadcaster Frank Elstner to use the video rights to an archive of video content with these laureates and created Nobel Perspectives.

Armed with this content the agency's first challenge was to engage this notoriously elusive and time poor audience. Secondly, it needed to connect the complex world of economics explored in Nobel Perspectives with UBS’s customers and prospective customers. And thirdly, it needed to convince a risk adverse Swiss bank that in order to truly stand out as ‘different’ it couldn’t continue to act like a traditional Swiss bank. It needed to be radical in its approach to releasing content if it was to attract attention amongst its audience.

Perception and high levels of engagement were key goals. And, to guarantee target audience engagement with the content it was essential to position it in a high dwell time and audience-familiar environment.


If engagement and awareness to this elusive HNWI audience was key, ediavest | Spark knew it had to really capture the attention of the audience in an environment they trust and were already spending time. It also needed to leverage the influence of this environment to find them. Content was the best way to achieve a prolonged engagement with this time poor audience. 

With the 60th anniversary of Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simons study on ‘The Logic of Machine theory’ the agency decided this was its opportunity to  frame the theory contextually to a HNWI audience through a contemporary lens. For this it needed to align with a high quality production studio who could help bring this to life. 

It found the production capability and the environment it needed through The New York Times. With exposure to over 22% of the Global HNWI population, equating  to about three and a quarter million of the target audience (source: Capgemini), The New York Times also offered the weight of its award winning T Brand Studio making them perfect collaborators.  


Innovation and technology were at the forefront of the piece. Provocatively titled ‘AI: What It Takes to Be Human’ the project delves into storytelling but also offers the reader the opportunity to experience the story.

UBS partnered with the award-winning chat-bot Rose, the state of the art machine-learning chat-bot built exclusively for this piece. Rose speaks to the audience about whatever they want (within reason) but gently encourages the exploration of AI further by delving deeper into the content.

The chatbot is followed by an original five-chapter New York Times-ian article and a short documentary-style video looking into the world of Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro (a leading humanoid designer from Osaka, Japan).

This content media combination is complemented by an interactive timeline featuring key dates of the development of AI through the years including Herbert A. Simon and access to three key industry experts and influencers in the field of artificial intelligence was maximised through an expandable Q&A published with each of them, lending greater authority. 

The content is wrapped up with UBS-owned Nobel Perspectives content in a dynamic rotating footer directing traffic to the Herbert A Simon Nobel Perspectives page on (

Native display units were used to promote the content, built specifically in line with the style of the content and designed to fit within the NYT environment. This included a rotation of headlines, which were optimised regularly to ensure contextual relevance and audience interest was maintained.


The campaign survey showed a 9% uplift in Brand Consideration for UBS and surpassed the target reach (100,000 visits) achieving 217,593 visits for the 3-month live period, exceeding all expectations. 

Dwell time reached 1.24 mins (NYT benchmark 1.21mins) and the average video completion rate was 52% (surpassing NYT average 38%) demonstrating the audience’s attention was captured by the content. 

There were 12,292 Social engagements and 133,696 social referrals, proving that this discerning audience were so compelled by the experience, that they wished to share it with their own followers.  

As well as interacting with the chat-bot, the long form article and video saw an average scroll rate (how far down the page people got) of 68.4%. And, although it wasn’t an objective,  2,647 people visited, demonstrating their engagement and a clear link between content and UBS.

The content visits combined with the virility of the social actions from the page and the consequent referrals demonstrates that the objectives for awareness were achieved.

Additionally, high video completion that exceeds the NYT benchmarks, the dwell time and deep scroll rate of the content (along with social) also shows the positive engagement that the content is resonating with this time poor audience.

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