Throughout 2019, HSBC UK’s ‘We are not an island’ campaign, which examined the relationship between the United Kingdom and the wider world, had sparked a national conversation and subsequent success for the bank. In January 2020, a key sales period, we needed to refresh our brand point of view with a new iteration of bold, thought-provoking work that would drive salience and continue to build upon the positive momentum we’d begun in 2019.

With Brexit emboldening bigotry and xenophobia, communities across the country found themselves in an increasingly hostile environment. Building on HSBC UK’s brand values of being open and connected, we set out to demonstrate the bank’s belief that everyone has the right to feel at home in the country and should be given the same opportunities to prosper regardless of their gender, sexuality, place of birth, social class, employment status, physical capability, or living situation.


After three divisive years, the United Kingdom parliament finally voted to deliver Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit bill that would see the UK leave the European Union.

In the run-up to this, the country had experienced the highest spike in religious and racial hate crimes ever recorded. Leaving minority groups across the country feeling vulnerable and alone.

Our competitors had responded by becoming nostalgic and inward-looking, harking back to ‘the good old days’, but there was a clear opportunity to stand for something different. As a bank with 155 years of international trade heritage to our name, we needed to stand for the values of building bridges, not walls.


We used the question, “Where are you from?” to explore the concept of national identity at a time when hate crimes and xenophobia were on the rise in the United Kingdom.

It’s a simple question that’s often asked as a way to get to know one another better, or so we assume. But it can also be a loaded question with the underlying message “you don’t belong here, you’re an outsider.”

Fronted by Richard Ayoade, the UK-born son of a Nigerian and Norwegian, our campaign got the nation to ponder if asking this question felt reductive and failed to capture the nuances of someone’s life experience. Asking them to consider if, “Where are you local?" might be a better alternative.


Overall, the “We are not an island” campaign in its various forms has tripled HSBC UK’s advertising awareness, surpassing ‘The World’s Local Bank”.

2020’s “Home To So Much More” activity played a key role in this, with ad awareness peaking almost 20% higher than the previous year’s activity with a similar amount of spend.

This helped move HSBC UK up 2 places in the UK bank brand power rankings.

And contributed to a sales spike, with a 40% increase in applications across the bank’s core products – mortgages, current accounts, credit cards, and personal loans.

“Home To So Much More” delivered HSBC UK a return on marketing investment of £3.4 for every £1 spent on the campaign.

Where are you from
Where are you from manifesto

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