HSBC's iconic lions turn a shade of rainbow in celebration of diversity

Replicas of the bank's famous felines, Stephen and Stitt, are wearing bright colours in a show of support for the LGBT community.

HONG KONG - The iconic HSBC lions, Stephen and Stitt, perched at the entrance of the HSBC Main Building Plaza in Hong Kong's Central district, made way for more colourful replicas starting last Wednesday in a show of the banking giant's support for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) in the city. 

Grey Group Hong Kong was the creative agency for the idea, execution and launch. 

The replica of Stephen, named the Pride Lion, was painted in stripes inspired by the Pride flag, while the Stitt replica, the Unity Lion, was painted in circles representing unity in diversity. Renowned local LGBT artist Michael Lam created the artwork for the replicas. Both statues are staking their hold at the HSBC headquarters for a month. The Hong Kong Pride Parade had earlier taken place on November 26. 

The HSBC Main Building lightshow is also featuring messages of pride and unity as well as "the names of HSBC’s LGBT community and its allies" since 15 November.

See also: Google holds firm as Singapore tightens rules on brand support of festivals

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony of the replicas, Diana Cesar, group general manager and chief executive, Hong Kong, said the bank has made progress towards achieving an open and diverse working environment and is committed to supporting equality for everyone. "Stephen and Stitt are powerful symbols of Hong Kong, and I am sure that the bold new interpretations of these replicas will strike a chord with all who pass by," said Cesar. 

"This campaign demonstrates our commitment to achieving a truly open and diverse working environment and I am confident it will continue driving the conversation beyond our own walls to our clients, peers and wider community,” said Kevin Martin, group general manager and regional head of retail banking and wealth management, Asia-Pacific. 

Stephen and Stitt have guarded the entrance of the HSBC building since October 1935. As enduring symbols of the bank's prosperity, the bullet-ridden statues of the lions once survived the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and a harrowing episode where they were almost consinged to become scrap metal during the war.  

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