Sunday, 19 April 2015

Branding Bungles of the Piggy Banks

This piece first appeared as one of my Palm Oil columns for Coconuts. The column became a casualty of my day job workload but I've been missing the chance to sound off in print and illustration on various topics that annoy or intrigue me lately, and I've been toying with the idea of resurrecting the column, perhaps just as an occasional feature on the blog. This was the final column for Coconuts, and one of my better 'Insta-art' pieces, illustrating the porcine aviation properties of banks and their promises.

LoadsaBank: Bish Bosh, look at all our dosh.
This little piggy goes to market! Insta-Art by Jason Gagliardi 

After the subprime-fueled global economic meltdown, when HSBC high-tailed it out of Thailand in 2012 and left behind only its corporate banking operation, I was amazed the press didn't make more of “The World's Local Bank” becoming rather less local. (It also flogged off its Japanese private banking business, a chunk of its Russian consumer banking business and about half of its US branches, along with great swaths of its Central American operations.)

There was a predictable flurry of perfunctory business stories, but what about the body blow this represented to the brand and its much-vaunted, oh-so-clever tagline? I was tempted to write something snide then, but figured that as I had taken local bank Krungsri's baht to pen about 20 letters to various classes of cardholders about the sale (Krungsri paid about US$115 million to acquire HSBC's Thailand retail banking business, including an array of credit card products) I was a bit close to the proceedings at the time.