HSBC: The world's local bank

Banks make all sorts of promises: they like to say yes, they put our interests first and they like to listen. HSBC is not like that.

by John Morrish

It wants to impress us with its global competence. The golfing dramas and eel-swallowing mishaps in its television commercials emphasise - some would say over-emphasise - cultural differences. They say this huge organisation is at home everywhere, even if you are not. The slogan, devised by Lowe London, was launched in 2002, following the decision to rebrand the whole group with the HSBC name and hexagon logo. It sounds so simple that it would have been a surprise if it hadn't been used before. And so it proved: Interbrew, the Belgian brewing giant, had been 'The World's Local Brewer' since 1999. A brief exchange of lawyers' letters ensued, before Interbrew withdrew its objections. This year, Lowe lost the HSBC account, yet the line will continue all over the world. But what kind of local bank is HSBC? Just try finding a phone number for your branch.

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