HSBC campaign notes the perils of 'borders' as Brexit effects hit the U.K.

Timely spot with Richard Ayoade hints at troubles and cultural divide

Published On
Oct 01, 2021

Editor's Pick

HSBC's new U.K. ad is a spot all about the perils of "borders"—and it's timely, coming just as the effects of Brexit are hitting, with a shortage of truck drivers leading to a fuel crisis amid panic buying. 

The new spot, from Wunderman Thompson, stars actor and comedian Richard Ayoade, who appeared in previous work for the bank with the theme "We are not an island" at the height of the Brexit negotiations in 2018.

In it, he explains how borders "can be useful..but not always," demonstrating divisions such as race, (as he marks a white line between spectators on a soccer pitch), and gender (showing how the glass ceiling is a 'classic border') before moving on to politics. A family shouting at each other about the latter hints at both Brexit and the culture wars, while another scene, in which he marks a white line in front of truck drivers at a British port with a knowing nod, seems particularly timely. 

As you might expect from a global bank, the political overtones are implicit rather than explicit. But the final scene, shot on the south coast of Britain, seems to hammer home the point, even if HSBC's Chief Marketing Officer Becky Moffat states that the work is about "metaphorical" borders.

"Our purpose is to open a world of opportunity for our customers, and that means helping people understand and overcome some of the barriers that exist today—most of which are invisible, or we don’t see unless they affect us personally," she said in a statement. “We believe we have a role to play in removing these barriers; from helping people without a fixed home address open a bank account to funding scholarships for the next generation of Black students at Cambridge University, we’re determined to play our part in creating a society where there is equal opportunity for all.”

The spot, which was directed by James Rouse of Outsider, launched first on social media, and is now running on TV and video-on-demand.


Oct 01, 2021
Client :
Agency :
Wunderman Thompson-UK
Chief Creative Officer :
Steve Aldridge
Creative Director :
Mike Watson
Creative :
Craig Hunt
Creative :
James Humphreys
WPP Global Lead :
Joseph Petyan
Account Team :
Claire Chislett
Account Team :
Natalie Wilson
Account Team :
Luke Thornton
Account Team :
Max Cain
TV Producer :
Sonny Botero
TV Producer :
Liberty Willison
Project Manager :
Tom Lawrence
Planner :
Omar El-Gammal
Planner :
Emily Rule
Planner :
Johnny Park
Design :
Graham Channon
Design :
Chris Hutton
Design :
Rob Joyner
Design :
Brian Riddle
Design :
Yoshi Okubo
Media :
PHD Media
Director :
James Rouse
Production Company Producer :
Benji Howell
Director of Photography/Cinematographer :
Alexander Melman
Editor :
Bill Smedley
Edit :
Work Editorial
Offline Producer :
Charlie Dalton
Sound Designer :
Ant Moore
Sound Designer :
Frankie Beirne
Sound Designer :
Mark Hills
Design :
Factory Sound Studios
Audio Producer :
Beth Massey
Post Production Producer :
Alexia Paterson
Post Production :
Production Assistant :
Sian Rhy Morgan
VFX Supervisor :
Chris Redding
Colorist :
Beau Leon
Compositor :
Darran Nicholson
Compositor :
Robin McGloin
Compositor :
Miguel Montserrat
Compositor :
Puff Pisanwalerd
Paint & Roto Artist :
Basim Kadhim
Matte Painting Artist :
Isabelle Rousselle
CG Artist :
Victoria Stuart
Hero Editor :
Matthew Collins
Licensing :
Sound Lounge
Music Search :
Tin Drum Music
Becky Moffat
Head of Brand Marketing :
Sarah Mayall
Senior Brand Marketing Manager :
Rowena Williams
Brand Marketing Manager :

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