HSBC's bank holdup ad is actually about phishing scams

Ad by David Buenos Aires illustrates cybercrime in an old-fashioned way

Published On
Jun 10, 2022

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Despite growing awareness of cybercrime, millions of people are still caught out by phishing schemes every day. Yet we're all aware of what would happen in an actual, physical bank robbery.

A new spot from HSBC and David Buenos Aires sets out to educate people on how such scams work via a typical, cliched bank holdup. Running in Argentina, the spot sees masked robbers bursting into a bank. But the words they speak follow the form of a typical phishing scam.

As they walk around grabbing banknotes from the cowering customers, they're telling them they've won something and ask for their bank details, even pressuring an older customer who doesn't understand by telling her it's a limited-time offer. As they pile the cash into their bag and walk off, they tell them they'll get a confirmation email. The spot ends with the words: "Crime evolves. So should we."

The campaign was produced by Argentina Cine and directed by Augusto Gimenez Zapiola and Alejandro Rey. The bank's effort comes after cybercrime grew by over 400% last year in Argentina. 

“We believe we should all make a contribution to the community in terms of awareness, and from HSBC we strongly believe that this contribution will allow many more customers in the financial system to have more tools in order to avoid being victims of cybercrime," said Julia Lois, head of marketing at HSBC Argentina, in a statement. "From all our platforms and service centers we have information and procedures to guide customers in risk situations, and our latest campaign seeks to highlight the importance of proceeding appropriately to these threats.” 

"These types of cybercrimes are effective because you don´t see them coming," said Nicolás Vara David executive creative director. "They surprise you when you act in good faith and don't realize that you are a victim of a crime until it’s too late." 

"This type of behavior is what we are trying to demonstrate on the piece," added David Executive Creative Director Ignacio Flotta.