Ad Nut
Mar 21, 2022

HSBC does inclusion the right way

AD NUT's PICK OF THE WEEK: A film by Wunderman Thompson shows actual same-sex affection, and treats it like it's no big deal (because it isn't).

In many years writing about advertising in the region, Ad Nut has seen progress in some areas. Maddeningly slow progress in some cases, but progress nonetheless. 

Such is the case with visibility of LGBTQ+ people in some of the region's more conservative markets. Just a few years ago, for example, a very innocuous Cathay Pacific ad that dared to show two men holding hands created a kerfuffle in Hong Kong (see "Cathay Pacific ad showing same-sex couple 'banned': Reports").

So it's worth noting a recent film from HSBC, which also has experience taking heat from bigots for simply noting the existence of the LGBTQ+ community (see "Pride lions will stay despite noise from anti-LGBT activists: HSBC"). 

The new film (above), by Wunderman Thompson Hong Kong, tells the tale a lesbian couple seemingly at an impasse in their relationship—until a grand gesture by one of the pair (aided by loan products from HSBC, no doubt) signals a new level of commitment.

The great thing about the film is that it's just about a couple. It could be any two performers of any gender in the roles, and it wouldn't make any difference to the story. It's representation, but not self-conscious, 'look at us being all representative' representation.

The fact that one of the actors, Asha Cuthbert, is outspoken about being bisexual, and was outspoken about dating a trans gentleman not too long ago, is also encouraging.

Ad Nut has long believed that aside from a vocal and very small minority, most people in Hong Kong are pretty accepting. But it's taken a long time for popular culture to reflect that reality more accurately. So it's good to see a major brand doing so.

Plus, the campaign that this film comes from, which also shows some other non-traditional family setups (see here and here) has helped the brand's affinity metrics: Post-campaign fieldwork says 79% of respondents see the brand as younger and more modern, and nearly 70% say it has taken a big step forward in terms of diversity and inclusion, according to the company.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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