HSBC’s ‘We Are Not an Island’ campaign espouses the charms of the UK’s cities with sprawling billboards and fawning copy. But this week, it accidentally extolled the virtues of Newcastle 159 miles south in Nottingham.
The campaign was created to instill pride in UK regions and cities using bespoke copy and local out-of-home media buys. That single ad, according to The Metro, appeared in the wrong city.
A poster in Nottingham spoke up the ‘Proud Geordies’ and explored the uniqueness of ‘The Toon’ in Nottingham, home of Sherwood Forest and the myth of Robin Hood. It declared to those in Nottingham ‘You Are Newcastle’ proving that mistargeted ads are not solely plaguing digital advertising. Referenced in the copy were Greggs, Newcastle United and the Great North Run.
Metro quoted a “maintenance operator” at an out-of-home company as saying “People make mistakes, it was probably one of their last jobs of the day.”
HSBC told The Drum that the poster has been replaced after being mistakenly erected in the wrong city. The poster has now been taken down.
It told social media users: “Correction. You are NOT Newcastle (apologies Nottingham). Really glad to be HSBC's community manager today... More seriously, thanks for pointing this out and we're really sorry for the mistake. We'll get it replaced asap."
Below is the ad that should have run in Nottingham.
The campaign has proven to be eye-catching although the bank had to claim it was not an anti-Brexit campaign amid online criticism due to the international nature of the campaign.