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2021 Silver Financial Services

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Agency: Wunderman Thompson UK

Client: HSBC UK

Campaign Name: The Homeless Bank Account

Campaign Overview

Without a fixed address, homeless people find themselves in a lose-lose situation where its impossible to open a bank account.

Without a bank account they can't claim benefits, it's harder to secure a job, which makes it harder to find a home.

A vicious circle needed to be broke

Strategy

Rates of homelessness in the UK have skyrocketed in the past decade.

The pandemic has also inflicted enormous economic hardship - here, an additional 70,000 households have been made homeless since Covid-19 began, with tens of thousands more at risk.

Studies showed that HSBC was associated with being global and with wealth management.

At the same time, its target audience strongly valued greater social inclusion. The disconnect between these two things formed the basis of the approach.

Banks require photo ID and proof of address to open an account.

At HSBC UK branches, people without a fixed address could now open a bank account using a participating charity's address as their proof of identity - allowing the homeless to reconnect with society and breaking the cycle of financial exclusion.

Creativity

Having a bank account allows people who are homeless to receive wages and claim benefits - but along with an address it keeps them connected to society's system.

To raise awareness among those who may need the service, the bank used out-of-home footfall data in five cities to target sites based on the rate of homelessness in the area, as well as their proximity to an HSBC UK branch that offered the No Fixed Address facility.

A mix of specially designed bus shelter vinyl wraps and disruptive fly poster formats in these areas highlighted the two types of homeless, rough sleepers and people moving from sofa to sofa, revealing the struggles they face without access to financial services.

Results

What started out in two branches spread to almost 100 nationwide, with HSBC partnering more than 70 organisations that can act as an identity verifier.

This has laid the groundwork for a platform to encourage other big banks to embark on a similar mission.

The initiative generated larger reach by appearing in national publications that had previously aligned themselves with homeless causes (including The Guardian and free titles such as the Evening Standard).

The Team

Wunderman Thompson UK - Steve Aldridge, Chief Creative Officer - Mike Watson, Creative Director - James Humphreys, Creative - Craig Hunt, Creative - Claire Chislett, Business Director - Luke Thornton, Account Director - Olivia Taylor, Account Manager - Amirah Hajat, Account Executive - Omar El-Gammal, Strategy Director - Eleanor Metcalf, Strategy - Tom Lawrence, Producer - Graham Channon, Designer - Bryan Riddle, Designer