The World’s Local Bank Friendlies Up To New Yorkers

HSBC. Is it another ad agency you’ve never heard of? Nope. It’s a British bank you’re probably never heard of.
According to The New York Times, HSBC is about to make some noise in noisy New York, by buying out all the ad space in an entire issue of New York Magazine.

Given the recent turmoil in the banking industry, one could see it as a case of bad timing. Is the American public really in the mood for an aggressive marketing pitch from a bank right now?
Or one could consider it kismet: Now more than ever, Americans need to be reassured of their financial security and the stability of their financial institutions. The ads in New York center on the idea that people see things differently depending on their position in life, and that HSBC understands that, making it well-suited to work with all kinds of people in all kinds of financial situations.

The bank will also be the sole advertiser on on Monday and Tuesday of this week, with a “significant share of voice” after that.
The open market rate for HSBC’s media buy comes in at about $1.6 million, although they likely received discounted pricing for buying the whole book.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. D: HSBC is a major advertiser here in NYC – they also have a lot of branches.
    They do a ton of outdoor and transit, all on the theme of differing perspectives. Other than the ubiquitous Doctor Z (“You too can have clear, beautiful skin”) they’re the only transit ads I can actually remember.

  2. Hi Alan,
    Guess my framing job is a bit off on this one.
    I can see how the story could be reframed entirely, so it’s all about paid sponsorship and not about New York, at all.