HSBC UK Safe Spaces

Wunderman Thompson

Client: HSBC UK

When people think of domestic abuse, they think of physical violence, but the problem is more complex. Economic abuse occurs in 95% of domestic abuse situations. Yet 69% of Brits don’t see the two as related.

To help people regain control of their finances, HSBC partnered with domestic abuse charity, Hestia, and turned all its branches into Safe Spaces. Creating anonymous refuges where people could seek help. Even if they don’t bank with HSBC. To raise awareness, HSBC used the metaphor of a puppet on strings in cinema, TV, radio, and out-of-home to highlight the financial strings abusers use to control and trap their victims. We then showed how to cut the strings in targeted social and discreet out-of-home, educating the public and leading victims to a Safe Space. The results were inspiring; conversations gathered pace on social media, victims spoke up for themselves, including Spice Girl, Melanie B who thanked the bank for their support and understanding of abuse. Traffic to the site increased by 1400%. Perhaps most impactfully, the campaign created change within the bank, rallying its divisions in support of tackling economic abuse. Having identified people were using HSBC’s platforms to send abusive messages, HSBC implemented a three-strike system, leading to a 40% reduction in abusive messages sent. Other financial service providers have started work in the same space, showing the campaign not only raised vital awareness but helped unify the category in the fight against a problem that sits intrinsically close to its products.