Last Thursday HSBC was giving you the opportunity to make yourself heard.  If you happened to be walking anywhere near Madison Square you were being invited to express yourself about preselected attributes.  

All you had to do was step up on a soapbox, hold up a sign and speak your mind.  JWT and LeadDog Marketing did the rest.  


Speak up America!

Speak up America!










The thought crossed my mind that I could use the opportunity to stand on a soapbox and explain to HSBC that the experience of their branches did not align with the cultural sensitivity of their ad campaign.  There is a lot they can do to improve and brand the HSBC experience.  Just look at what TD Bank (formerly Commerce) did with their brand experience.  At last, a place where  I could make myself heard on the key marketing topics of the day!  

Instead I nearly knocked over a sandwich board filled with fine print.  You’ll see how they start with the alarming statement “…you (i) understand that you will be engaging in activities that may involved risk of injury….”  It goes on to say in bold print “VOLUNTARILY ASSUME ALL RISK AND DANGER of personal injury (including death)…”  


The fine print...

The fine print...

Certainly a sign like that should give you fair warning.  It should be posted at the entrance before you actually go into the park.  That would give you the option of avoiding death at the hands of HSBC, JWT and Lead Dog Marketing.  In fact the sign was a good 15 feet into the park.  By the time I was reading it, I was already taking unreasonable risks into my own hands.

Wow, the agency business has gotten much rougher than the days when I was an SVP at J. Walter Thompson.  

Give me liberty or give me...residuals?

Give me liberty or give me...residuals?










And way, way, way down on the board buried in the fine print is the gotcha line.  It says that simply by walking in the Park you…

grant the right to Producers to utilize your image, likeness, actions, name, voice and statements in perpetuity in any live or recorded audio, video, or photographic display or any other transmission, exhibition, publication or reproduction made of, or at, this event without further authorization or compensation.”

Not only was I risking injury and death but I was also giving up the rights to my own name, likeness, etc. forever!  And in exchange I was getting no compensation at all.  None.  And I didn’t have to sign my name, I just had to walk into the park.

Of course any “unauthorized video recording is prohibited.”  

The final irony?  HSBC was asking people to talk about FREEDOM…


Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...

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