A new spot by global bank HSBC in the UK has caused a stir for apparently carrying a subliminal “anti-Brexit” message.
As the ramifications from the “leave” vote continue to plague the nation and its politicians, the new ad attempts to highlight the influence of other countries and cultures on the UK.
In June 2016, British voters voted to leave the EU by 51.9 per cent to “remains” 48.1 per cent.
Titled “We are not an island”, the ad’s the work of JWT and includes social media, OOH and poster iterations that show Britons enjoying Columbian coffee, watching American films and supporting Argentinian football players.
Check out the offending ad below:
Together we thrive. pic.twitter.com/KHiPeWzneN
— HSBC UK (@HSBC_UK) January 1, 2019
However, some pro-leave politicians and commentators have labelled the ad as inappropriate considering the mood of the nation and the sensitivity surrounding voters’ decision to leave the EU.
Brexit campaigner and journalist Tim Montgomerie led the attack on the ad and the bank: “We are an island actually – full of villages and towns your bank deserted; of cleaners you underpaid; and of money laundering and other laws you bent. Brexit etc was a response to the economy you helped decimate. Thanks for the lecture but we’ll manage without it,” Montgomerie tweeted.
Bob Seely, MP for the Isle of Wight, took up the subject on Twitter, asking whether Brexit could mean “higher standards for banking”.
Patrick O’Flynn, a pro-Leave MP for the East of England, tweeted that the ad was “really odd and ideologically aggressive”, adding that he was “glad I am not an HSBC customer”.
While another non-fan tweeted: “And – in these divided times – does it risk alienating a large number of potential customers?”
However, an HSBC spokesperson defended the ad: “With the ‘We are not an island’ poster we are reinforcing our strong belief that the things that make us quintessentially British are the things that make us inescapably international.”
Equally, the spot’s not been without its fans, too.
Teacher Pablo Reyes Barbosa tweeted that the poster was “class”, another said it was “uplifting”, while another supporter called it “an amazing ad” that “captures the global nature of our country”.