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UBS Brand Relaunch

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In 2008 the global economy faced its most dangerous crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  UBS restructured and, in a bid to stand apart from its competition, repositioned as 'modern', 'human' and 'different'.  

Mediavest | Spark's challenge was 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 more radical in its communications approach if it was to attract attention amongst its time poor audience. 

The first phase of the approach was a large scale media campaign to ensure it reached the elusive and niche audience effectively. Further still, its audience is notoriously time poor, the agency needed to speak to them when they were receptive to UBS messaging and the content was compelling enough for UBS’ new Brand values to come across.   

The second phase focused on the content to connect with the audience. The agency partnered with two publishers (Bloomberg and The New York Times) to create content aligned with these Brand values packaged in a way that the audience would want to consume in environments they were already spending time.  

Perception of the new values and high levels of engagement with the media campaign were key goals.  


The agency moved away from the traditional media approach to financial services advertising due to over saturation. It focused on reaching users on channels they preferred with relevant creative messaging reflecting important parts of their lives through ‘Life Questions’.  

Posing questions that spanned different life-stages these questions had obvious and not so obvious financial implications and were designed to provoke curiosity to find out more. 

Bespoke research was commissioned and combined with research from Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s team giving invaluable information into the concerns of the audience and helped inform planning. For example, it prioritised distribution of content via Bloomberg on private jets and 1st class flights as the Bloomberg Billionaires team discovered this was a rare time when this audience consumed content unrelated to their daily tasks. 

Mediavest | Spark invested 71% of its budget into digital to reflect the progressive habits of this audience. Digital channels also allowed it to add more depth and precision. Digital media provided more information and brought people back to a content-rich website intended to show the brand’s commitment to finding answers. 

If Brand perception was the objective, then high levels of engagement were the goal ensuring its messaging was received.  

Content Approach: The agency selected partners whose dwell time benchmarks for content were high versus industry standards indicating that content on platform was being enjoyed, even in longer formats. It aligned the audience insights from research with three UBS content pillars to achieve their communication objectives:  

Humanise: posing questions that spanned different life-stage moments (Life Questions).  

Differentiate: UBS is proud of its extensive network of economists that act as an integral asset to their client offering. UBS Nobel Perspectives explores the questions that shape our world through the insight of Nobel Laureates. 

Modernise: leveraging the partners' reputations through thought leadership. 


The agency needed to be smart and efficient in the way it differentiated UBS from its competitors.  To reduce wastage, it focused on highly targeted media. The planning principle was to use digital and data to deliver personal brand messages to the right audiences.  

Mediavest | Spark used multiple, real time, data sources to define people’s interests and locations and used this to inform the targeting. For example, it used specific targeting to only five star hotels thereby cutting wastage. It also used sequential messaging across devices to ensure people accessing UBS content on their mobile and tablet didn’t receive the same creative message twice.  

A content calendar on extended the activity across the year and helped build UBS's ‘thought leader’ reputation with x12 articles/videos/infographics and a sponsored TV series that sought to understand the challenges facing our world. Tackling controversial topics such as the gender gap of female economists, rise of automation and telling the story of ‘passing on values’ through the Lamborghini family business. 

The agency commissioned a tactical piece of content with NYT celebrating Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon and the UBS long term investment theme of Ai. Partnering with the award-winning chat-bot Rose, a state of the art machine-learning chat-bot. Rose speaks to the audience about whatever they want (within reason) and encourages the exploration of AI further via the content.  

As the campaign progressed, the agency optimised the campaign toward the best performing partners at driving visits to the UBS Microsite and content that lead to engagements.  


Since launch proud UBS employees and clients have expressed how they feel understood by the bank – more remarkably CMO’s of major competitors have commented positively about its impact.   

• Journalists wrote over 1,000 articles creating over 450 million PR and advertising impressions.   

• More than 2.2 million people visited the UBS site to find out more. 

• 1.9 million social engagements were created as people like, shared and talked about the campaign. 

 26.9 million people watched a UBS Brand video.   

• The UBS and Bloomberg partnership delivered over 22 million impressions with over 295k page views and spending an avg. of 2:41 mins per page – (Bloomberg benchmark 2:30mins). 

• It had an avg. CTR for videos of x4 the sector average and Display generated CTR rate x10 the category average. 

 The NYT the campaign surpassed target (100,000 visits) achieving 218k visits for the 3-month period.  

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

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

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