Emvies 2012: Reminiscing the day you were born

By Nisha Menon , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Planning & Buying | August 30, 2012
The media strategy devised for HSBC by Mindshare to reach the business leaders of India was shortlisted in the Best Media Innovation - Direct Marketing category at Emvies 2012.

When HSBC wanted to reach out to the top contacts of the commercial, global and private banking arms and top executives of major business houses on their special day, that is their birthday, it faced the obstacle of designing the communication in a manner that would catch their attention.


Thanks to the busy schedules of the biggies of the Indian business world, the bank's media agency Mindshare was asked to reach out in a manner that ensured that the communication stayed with them. The media strategy devised by Mindshare was presented at the case study presentations of the 12th edition of Emvies in the Best Media Innovation - Direct Marketing category.

The agency identified three rings of barrier that prevented the communication from reaching the right people at the right time. The corporate hierarchy made it difficult for HSBC to reach the biggies. The second challenge the agency identified was the heightened people traffic experienced by these busy people. A study conducted by Mindshare revealed that corporate big shots, on an average, were looking after the operations of six companies, with over 100 people from each of these companies reaching them on a normal day. That meant on an average 600 people were attempting to reach them.

The research results were extrapolated to reveal that on any special day such as birthdays and anniversaries, the number of people trying to reach them increased 10-fold - a whopping 6,000 people would try to reach the targeted individuals on these days!

The insight was that the brand's message would get lost in the plethora of communication received, thereby failing to create connect.

The third challenge the agency identified was the gifting conundrum. Tactics of reaching out to these honchos fell flat as measures such as sending them F1 race tickets, Wimbledon tickets and vouchers for a trip to an island did not get them to respond. What to gift a corporate biggie who owned an F1 team, had a box at Wimbledon and probably owned an island, was the biggest challenge.

Mindshare came across a video which proved to be the inspiration. It was a video of Prince Charles getting his hands on a box which had a video tape in it. The video goes on show Charles viewing the film which features him and his siblings as kids, having fun. It further shows Charles talking about how the film took him back in time and gave a glimpse of the life he enjoyed and cherished.

Solution: The agency came up with the insight that going back in time intrigues and the targeted audience romanced the yesteryears.

The agency devised a plan where it could take the corporate leaders back in time to the day they were born. The agency tied up with The Times of India to come up with the exact replica of the front page of the national daily on the day each of these business leaders were born. The front page was framed in a wooden frame with unbreakable glass and articles and pictures were recaptured as they were, giving a snapshot of how the world was on the day they were born. A subtle message and branding was incorporated at the bottom with the message 'Remembering this special day'.

The frames were packed in customised decorated boxes. The idea was to give them a glimpse into the state of the world on the most important day of their lives through a medium that is of their preference. The campaign was cost-effective, too, as it cost just Rs 3,000, including postage charges.

According to Mindshare, more than 500 personalised mailers went sent, out of which 357 people responded with written messages, a response rate of 71 per cent. The case study has been shared as a best practice measure across 18 APAC countries and has also been implemented internationally in HSBC Singapore.

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