HSBC Lumberjack Commercial: Coming To a Cinema Near You

30 October 2008

HSBC, the “World’s Local Bank”, continues the 'two sides to everything' concept in their latest television advertisement, a cinematic production with police, bears, dogs, lumberjacks and environmentalists of tear-jerking proportions.

Produced in both a full-length 90 second spot and a shorter 30 second version, the commercial shows tree-hugging protestors being forcefully removed by police from a wooded area that lumberjacks are waiting to level.

The synopsis of the story is that everyone is just doing what they believe is their job, but one person’s job inherently hurts another. The protestors are crying and hanging on as if their own lives were being taken. A woman gets arrested, thrown into prison, only to be released by her husband... who turns out to be one of the loggers.

You could possibly even shed a tear watching this. But what does any of this have to do with banking?

Slate editor John Swansburg received some insight from director Tracy Britton:

“HSBC caters to a sophisticated clientele, many of whom have interests overseas. The aim of this ad isn't, it turns out, to sell me a Choice Checking account—HSBC has other campaigns touting such products. "Lumberjack" is supposed to reinforce the bank's global experience to customers who own real estate in Belgium, say, or a small business with clients in Cambodia. The loggers and tree-huggers are metaphors, deployed to show that HSBC understands the diversity of viewpoints in the world—which in turn allows the bank to better serve customers in New York and Phnom Penh, alike.”

No matter how much inspiration Tracy Britton derived from Ayn Rand, a female environmentalists who cared so much about trees is probably not going to marry a lumberjack in the first place.

[YouTube] (via Slate)

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