PRWeek Global Awards Winners 2019: Issues and Crisis

The winner of this year's Issues and Crisis award is Cyber Crime: a campaign that didn't add up, by Weber Shandwick (London) for HSBC.

Banks are under pressure to demonstrate tangible commitment to tackling digital fraud. While many consumers cite the issue as a key concern, HSBC’s internal market research found others either prefer to avoid thinking about it, or don’t consider it relevant to them.

Take me back to the PRWeek 2019 winners page

HSBC’s agency, Weber Shandwick, decided to catch consumers unaware ahead of key online shopping date Cyber Monday (26 November). The agency recruited television maths whiz Rachel Riley, interviewing her and then using ‘deep fake’ technology to make her appear to confess that she was actually bad at maths. The video was launched on Saturday, 24 November on Riley’s own Twitter and Instagram accounts - no paid budget was used, to avoid arousing suspicion.

The following day (Sunday, 25 November), it was revealed HSBC was behind the confession, with a video showing how the ‘confession’ had been faked.

The reveal video tweet got more likes (4,400 and counting) than HSBC UK had ever achieved. The confession, reveal and additional advice videos were viewed millions of times.

The social stunt was covered in several UK national media outlets. Politicians, the police, Crimestoppers, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and celebrities were among those who applauded the bank for taking a proactive approach to fighting digital fraud.

Judge's comment:

Great campaign, well executed, good use of storytelling and engaging the audience


Highly Commended:

The Cape Town Water Emergency: from crisis to opportunity 

Weber Shandwick for South Africa Tourism

Unnerving headlines around a severe drought in the Western Cape were proving a headache for South Africa Tourism. Weber Shandwick was asked for help; its local and global WaterWiseTourism campaign reassured would-be tourists, government and the industry that the country was not only open for business, but could also be considered a leader in water resilience and responsible tourism.

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