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UBS / The meaning of life (and economics)

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective campaigns and marketing ideas

UBS has launched an online content series starring Nobel Laureates in Economics.

The first profile on the Swiss investment bank’s Nobel Perspectives digital platform explores the work of game theoristAlvin E. Roth. The site features videos of Roth’s life and work, where he answers such questions as ‘Do markets need rules to work freely?’ and considers ‘What kidney transplants can teach us about trading.’ Financial Times columnist and author of The Undercover Economist, Tim Hatford, and UBS’s global economist, Paul Donovan, provide analysis and commentary on the meaning of Roth’s work. The site also features a gallery of artefacts found on Roth’s desk.

Over the next two years UBS will add another Nobel Laureate economist to the platform every few weeks. Future profiles includeJames M. Buchanan Jr., Gérard Debreu, and Finn Kydland.

The content was created in partnership with German broadcastersFrank and Thomas Elstner. It follows on from a project that Frank began in 1985, documenting the life and work of Nobel Laureates.

The digital platform is part of a wider campaign by Publicis UK, London called Together we can find an answer. The campaign launched with a TV spot asking questions like ‘How do I balance my work and family?’, ‘Am I a good father?’ and ‘Why should I retire?’ The spots ends with the message ‘For some of life’s questions, you’re not alone. Together we can find an answer.’ The idea being that UBS can help when it comes to answering the financial questions life throws at you.

The TV spot complements portraits of entrepreneurs by esteemed photographer Annie Leibovitz. UBS has also interviewed the stars of these print ads for videos on its website. For instance, in the film below, David Coulthard, former F1 driver and businessman, talks about balancing family life with the demands of a career.



Contagious Insight / 

Content people care about / This series starring Nobel Laureates positions the bank as a facilitator, giving people access to great economic minds. The content is, of course, relevant to UBS’s area of expertise but importantly it’s not about the bank. It’s all about providing the customer with videos they might find interesting, encouraging them to watch branded content in the same way they might watch a TED talk. But by profiling the world’s smartest economics experts, UBS also subtly indicates that it too understands the forces that make the markets tick.

Humanising the brand / The ‘together we can find an answer’ campaign is part of a major rebrand for UBS. In 2013, the bank conducted a deep dive consultation, interviewing 3,500 clients. According to Johan Jervoe, UBS CMO, these customers felt that banks lack an understanding of their customers. ‘They didn’t like the stereotype of an image of a wealthy client standing on the stairs of their Learjet with a private banker holding the signed contracts. They didn’t think it resembled them,’ Jervoe told City AM. UBS’s response was to humanise and simplify its messaging.

Its latest campaign is squarely focused on client needs. By juxtaposing questions like ‘Am I a good father?’ with ones like ‘Is it better to leave the kids everything or nothing?’, UBS can demonstrate that it understands the real concerns its customers have. It shows that people don’t distinguish between their finances and their lives, they are inseparable. By acknowledging that its customers are more than investors, but have families, passions and personal worries, UBS is proving that it is well equipped to give the best financial advice.

Nobel Perspectives



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