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HSBC Bank activates Wimbledon print ads with mobile QR codes

June 21, 2010

Consumers who scan the QR code are redirected to a WAP site with a video featuring tennis great Jim Courier

Consumers who scan the QR code are redirected to a WAP site with a video featuring tennis great Jim Courier

HSBC Bank USA N.A., official banking partner of Wimbledon, has launched a campaign targeting tennis fans in New York with print ads featuring mobile quick-response (QR) codes.

“HSBC presents Wimbledon 2010 at Rockefeller Center” features a week of complimentary activities from June 21-25, including live screenings at the HSBC outdoor viewing area and the opportunity to play tennis on Manhattan’s only grass court. Print ads with QR codes promoting the event are appearing in the New York Observer, Time Out New York, Newsday, Metro, AM New York, the New York Daily News, the New York Post and the New Yorker.

“Only HSBC, the world’s local bank and official banking partner of Wimbledon, can authentically bring the tournament to life for tennis fans in New York City,” said Johanna Breman Tzur, senior vice president and head of  brand and advertising for North America at HSBC, Mettawa, IL. “This is our third year involved with Wimbledon and this year, we are providing a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Wimbledon one of the world’s premiere sporting events through the use of QR codes. 

“QR codes take the ubiquity of smartphones and combine that with the user’s natural curiosity and desire to be in on information no one else has,” she said.

“People on the street in New York are either taking a call, making a call or about to do either and so if you have the phone in your hand and you see our ads, you might take the minute to download the app and scan the ad.”

HSBC Bank USA, a subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., has more than 475 bank branches throughout the United States, with 370-plus in New York State.

The Bank also operates in Florida, California, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut and Virginia.

For this project, HSBC worked with IMG, JWT, Mindshare, Edelman and Mindshare Performance.

Tennis goes mobile
In a first for HSBC, out-of-home and print advertising features QR codes that, when scanned with a smartphone, unlock exclusive Wimbledon content as a teaser to the event.

HSBCs agency tapped connvision AGs BeeTagg QR codes

HSBC's agency tapped connvision AG's BeeTagg QR codes

QR codes will also be posted around the Rockefeller Center venue, offering attendees behind-the-scenes videos and tournament facts.

Also new this year, attendees can visit Nintendo Wii kiosks to play EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis with  fans on-site at Wimbledon in London.

In addition to listing highlights of the HSBC event at Rockefeller Center, the ads feature the following call-to-action:

“For more details, scan this code with your smartphone. No QR reader? Text ‘Wimbledon to 35047.”

Some ads feature variations on that theme:

“For more details, visit or scan this code with your smartphone. Look for more codes at the event and scan them to unlock exclusive content. Don’t have a QR reader? Text ‘Wimbledon’ to 35047 to download one for free.”

Consumers who scan the code are redirected to a WAP site with a video featuring retired tennis great Jim Courier. Those who text in are sent an SMS with a link to the WAP site.

Here is a screengrab of one of the print ads:


HSBC activates Wimbledon sponsorship
At the June 21 kickoff event on Day One of Wimbledon, former world No. 1 ranked players Monica Seles and Jim Courier will play with select fans on the authentic grass court.

The event will take place at noon at the HSBC outdoor Rockefeller Center venue (between 50th/51st Streets and 5th/6th Avenues), with former French Open doubles champion Luke Jensen serving as emcee. 

• Live Wimbledon Screenings – Catch exciting match play daily on a giant screen from 7:00am to 5:00 pm, followed by classic tournament footage until 7:00pm, courtesy of ESPN. Tennis fans can enjoy their lunch or take a break while watching the action from a special seating area.

• Public Grass Court Play – Challenge friends to a match on the singles grass court. Sneakers required; Prince racquets and balls will be provided or players may use their own equipment.   Call 212-525-2367 to reserve court times.

• Prince Sports, Inc. Tennis Clinics – Passersby can get tips on tennis strategy, conditioning and stroke improvement from certified Prince teaching pros June 22-25 from 12:00-1:00pm and 5:00–6:00 p.m. daily.  Walk-ins welcome. Tennis professionals are courtesy of Gotham Tennis Academy.

• Play EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis at Wii kiosks vs. fans on-site at Wimbledon in London.

• Racquet restringing while you wait on-site courtesy of NYC Racquet Sports daily from 12:00 – 2:00pm.

• Photos with the Wimbledon Trophy – Through green screen technology, fans can pose with the Wimbledon trophy and walk away with a photo as a memento.

• Strawberries & Cream Carts – Enjoy the traditional Wimbledon treat! Strawberries and cream distributed 12:00- 6:00 p.m. daily, courtesy of California Giant Berry Farms.

• City Parks Foundation (CPF) Tennis Clinic  for Kids–On June 23 from 3:30-5:00pm, Jim Courier will host an invitation-only tennis clinic for children selected by the City Parks Foundation, part of HSBC’s ongoing sponsorship of CPF. 

Courier will take participants through a number of tennis drills on the grass court and conduct a Q&A session. California Giant Berry Farms will provide healthy strawberry snacks.

• Police Athletic League (PAL) Tennis Clinic for Kids- On June 24 Courier will travel to Buffalo, NY, to host a tennis clinic on the hard courts at Delaware Park for children selected by PAL.

The grass court installation will be overseen by Sports Turf of Connecticut, using Diamond Zoysia grass from New Life Turf Farm in Norway, SC.

The regulation singles grass court will be trimmed to Wimbledon’s 1/8th inch.

Exclusive Wimbledon factoids
On the three HSBC carts providing complimentary strawberries and cream to event attendees, there will be a QR code.

The QR code will unlock this fact:  More than 4,400 pounds of English strawberries are consumed every day at Wimbledon, the same weight as a mid-size sedan.

“QR codes take the two dimensional newspaper ad or out-of-home poster gives the reader a way to interact – to unlock information or content they might not have had access to in any other way,” Ms. Tzur said.

“The exporting of Wimbledon to New York’s Rockefeller Center in such a 360 way – events, advertising, consumer engagement, press – means we will touch people on-site as well as those seeing the ads on the street or in their daily reading options,” she said. 

“The HSBC customer is internationally minded, so the global appeal of Wimbledon – its traditions and great champions – appeal very much to that target.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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