This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.

HSBC International Women's Day

  •  Thumbnail
  •  Thumbnail


With 250 million women living in poverty around the world, and women performing 66 percent of the world's work, for only 10% of the world's income, as a global brand, HSBC wanted to show its support for female ambition and equality. It wanted a strong, powerful film that communicated the brand message – Supporting Human Ambition - adding a genuine voice to the discussion. 

Gender diversity at HSBC is already good, with 52% of employees being women, as well as 30% of the Board of Directors. Instead, it wanted a film that could promote its values, and continue the discussion about diversity. In some of its markets (Asia, the Middle East, South America) attitudes towards diversity are different, and conversations about diversity provide a valuable way of bringing older-fashioned views up to date. HSBC wanted people to know that the discussion needed to be had, and that it was good for its people (both employees and customers) to be talking about it. 

Importantly, consumer insight showed that the audience has ‘stereo-type fatigue’ and are tired of hearing about the challenges and inequalities of being a woman. Instead, it needed to turn stereo-types on their head and celebrate female empowerment.  

HSBC wanted the film to inspire people across all of its markets to start their own discussions, and to be positive about diversity – talking about race, gender, sexuality, faith, or age. It wanted to be positioned as a thought-leader on this topic – innovating and influencing attitudes across all markets. 


HSBC set out to create a video showcasing unpredictable and surprising examples of female empowerment to drive engagement and awareness of the brand's support for female ambition. This would allow it to cut through the clutter of stereo-typical gender messaging on International Women’s Day and drive positive conversation on the topic.  

It concentrated on creating a script that was tough, direct and had an edge to it – the ‘building’ motif was all of these things, giving an ample opportunity for interesting word play, a strong end line, and a positive title for the film; ‘Building A Movement’. 

Through one single, strong and shareable film it would create a diverse and dynamic portrait of women from all over the world, including: British Cycling Rio Paralympic TeamFiji Rugby 7s women’s team, Caroline’s Cars (female mechanics), London Prosthetic Centre, Cancer Research UK scientists at the CRICK Institute, Sonal Sharma (HSBC employee), Katie Wright (Blacksmith), Sylvia Yin (Founder of Shoppr app) and Masoom Minawala (Fashion blogger). 

To further increase the reach of the film, it posted the film natively on HSBC local market social media channels. In Mexico, Argentina, Canada and France the film was subtitled, and then shared from local channels.  

It used one promoted post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and partnered with a third party agency to target Entrepreneurship, IWD and women in business in hashtags, handles and keywords. Ensuring the film got pushed out in front of the right people, and was seen by as wide an audience as possible.  


HSBC started researching the visual component. It wanted to avoid generic, traditional views of women, concentrate on things that many audience members in different markets might not have seen before, and play with expectations - showing images that were compelling and unusual - while also touching on parallel HSBC campaigns of entrepreneurship and ambition. 

It made a budgetary decision to split the sourcing of visuals between self-shot location pieces and library stock, carefully balancing the two to make sure each line of the script had an appropriate visual. It then created a visual identity for the self-shot footage that allowed it to blend it with the library stock.  

While the brand knew that sound was going to play a key role, it was also aware that the film needed to be able to stand alone without it. The edit needed to convey the rhythm and power of the film by itself, and the music and voiceover would augment these aspects to the audience members who chose to listen to it as they scrolled through their social media feeds. 


The results far outdid the expectations for the project. The combination of strong visuals, compelling voiceover and powerful music proved incredibly effective as the project rolled out on March 8th on the following platforms: @HSBC Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.   

The results were astounding. Between March 8th and March 14th, the video achieved an outstanding 2,530,000 views and 7,550,000 impressions, making it one of the most viewed videos ever on global social media channels. On Twitter, the video had a view rate of 50.7% vs the industry rate of 13%, and also outperformed KPI views on Facebook and Instagram. This latter platform drove the largest volume of engagements, indicating that the video was exceptionally relevant and well engaged by its audience. It also meant that the cost per view for each of the social media platforms was £0.01. 

From a qualitative aspect, the video had some very positive and supportive comments across social media channels. HSBC's social media team were across all the platforms throughout the day, and were able to react nimbly to the valuable opportunity to engage with the audience. Many discussions started up around the importance of diversity, all positioning HSBC as a thought-leader in this area.

Have Your Say

Please register to add comments.

March - May 2017
Media Channel:

Cream Shuffle

Stuck for ideas? Use our automated inspiration tool.

ShuffleClick to shuffle
  • Coca Cola
  • Saudi Arabia
Read more

Cream Subscribers

Other C Squared Products

logo 2013 small

© C Squared Networks Ltd.

115 Southwark Bridge Rd,
London, SE1 0AX.

Registered Number: 8391925
VAT REG NO: GB158 9727 52

Umbraco development
by Vizioz