Cannes Lions

Punch Above the Weight

TOUCHE!, Montreal / HSBC / 2023

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Case Film
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Just when we thought the COVID-19 situation was recovering, the news of inflation hit Canadians. The real estate market has not been spared with rising interest rates, frequent rates change and home prices higher than ever. The latest data showed home sales sank 47.4 % year-over-year in July 2022, while sales activity was down 24.1% monthly. (Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, 2022)

Amid the volatile real estate market in Canada, HSBC, as a performance-driven challenger bank, needed media to work three times as hard (as twice is not enough!) to achieve aggressive goals:

Acquire 24K new-to-bank Mortgages, with 10% of those being high-ratio mortgage

Increase qualified leads growth in marketing response


These insights were instrumental in forming our strategy and the success of the HSBC mortgage business despite the threats we faced.

 To position itself at the heart and top of mind of new buyers’ process, HSBC designed a first-to-market solution using exclusive third-party data to build a direct line to live data.

Seeing the outdoor traffic starts to restore post-pandemic, we designed a DOOH solution infused with precise real estate listing data. The design is meant to intercept the most fruitful moments of the home-buying journey ahead of the competition when people are on their way to home viewing. It enables dynamic placement decisions in correlation to the constant changing of the geographical listing hot spots.

Finally, to keep up with the Bank of Canada's frequent rate, we designed a DCO solution that factor in rate changes and the plethora of mortgage options.


We partnered with and MLS, Canada's largest real estate websites, to access their feed in real-time to identify current home sale hotspots based on where there are lots of listings… meaning there will be lots of potential home buyers visiting by whom HSBC could intercept.

Before the campaign launch, we established a baseline listing to identify where the varying surplus of new home listings will be. We developed an algorithm where an HSBC mortgage ad would only trigger when a certain amount of new house listings were live in a radius around each board proposing advantageous mortgage rates.

This initiative was supported by an integrated media campaign to ensure HSBC captured a maximum share of voice after being exposed to this initiative, compounded with the programmatic DCO solution and rigorous biweekly optimization. Print, radio, TV and digital tactics drove users to an acquisition campaign in search, social and programmatic.


Campaign results have exceeded HSBC’s expectations generating an increase of 70% of Marketing Responses against mortgages year over year (vs. the target of 27% growth).

Acquisition cost efficiency was 20% more efficient than the target. Branch locator use has increased by 187%, and Book Appointments triggers online were up by over 550%.

Despite the massive dip in the real estate market in April, the organic search volume of HSBC mortgages experienced a 56% less decline than the competition.

We’ve outsmarted the competition in the DOOH medium, where they heavily spend. The first-to-market solution possessed an edge that competitors’ traditional OOH strategy couldn’t keep up.

The agile DCO solutions discover a new market demand for hybrid mortgage options, which once tends to be a less popular product. The discovery informed the creative strategy shift during the campaign optimization to feature “hybrid” in the key messaging before the competition realized the insights.

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2022, HSBC

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