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Ad of the Day: This HSBC billboard perfectly visualizes financial coercion of abusers


By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

June 15, 2022 | 3 min read

A live billboard with a woman being controlled by strings has been installed by HSBC to raise awareness of financial abuse.

'When an abuser controls your finances, they control you' HSBC campaign

‘When an abuser controls your finances, they control you’ HSBC campaign

As a metaphor for financial control, the billboard is part of HSBC’s awareness drive of its in-branch domestic abuse ‘Safe Spaces.’ The ‘Safe Spaces’ initiative encourages abuse victims to ask for ‘ANI,’ which will trigger HSBC staff to contact the police.

A giant hand with strings tied to it extends out from the billboard and controls the performer, who is pulled and played with. The strings mimic a puppet and dramatize how a victim will try to escape the grasp before being pulled back each time.

“When an abuser controls your finances, they control you,” the billboard says. The copy also includes the stat that economic control occurs in 95% of all domestic abuse cases.


Wunderman Thompson is behind the wider campaign, which kicked off on May 23 with a set of out-of-home (OOH) ads. HSBC and the agency worked closely with the domestic abuse charity Hestia, which first launched the ‘Safe Spaces’ initiative.

The billboard is up for June 14 and 15 in Spitalfields Market. Representatives from Hestia will be at the site to provide support to those who need it.

“Escaping an abusive relationship isn’t as simple as walking out of the door,” said Sarah Mayall, head of brand marketing at HSBC UK. “Through this campaign, we hope to raise awareness of the service and the shocking link between domestic and economic abuse.”

HSBC has trained more than 4000 employees across all HSBC UK branches to run its ‘Safe Spaces’ program.

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