Shortlisted 2020

Financial Services



Entered by:

Spark Foundry


The New York Times, T Brand Studio

Are You Investing In What Matters To You?

The Challenge

Back in 2017, UBS launched a successful global campaign focused on driving awareness of Sustainable Investing. However, by the end of the year, the competitive landscape had become saturated with this relatively new theme all with similarly styled content in articles and videos. It was quickly becoming harder to stand out from the crowd as investment banks all over the world threw big media behind their individual efforts to cover the x17 topics ripe for investment within the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The bank’s research showed that while Sustainable Investing was becoming a more familiar term with its audience, there was still a lack of clarity as to what it really meant, how it was relevant to their lives and where to begin. It appeared industry efforts had successfully gotten the audience to notice, but failed to help them understand.

For the next stage in its marketing strategy, this traditional Swiss bank needed to break the marketing mold and stand out from the noise that had been created in the industry whilst providing in-depth education, and understanding of the theme.


  1. Position UBS as a thought leader, change driver and expert in financial services.
  2. Help the audience understand the term Sustainable Investing .
  3. Drive

To be successful, the campaign measurements needed to achieve:

  • High visibility for the right audience
  • Strong engagement to drive real awareness and education
  • Quality traffic to to drive consideration

The Creative Solution

The U.N SDGs include 17 topics for investment, Spark identified the most popular terms and matched them against UBS business objectives to focus the theme. The results were; 1) Health Care, 2) Climate Action, 3) Government and Ethics, 4) Economic Growth and 5) Responsible Consumption.

The New York Times’s T Brand Studio was selected as a partner based on;

  • Audience affinity and topic authority – to help showcase UBS as a thought
  • Data availability – insights into audience and content consumption within the topics
  • Audience reach and variety in formats – To reach readers throughout their daily/weekly news habits we created an omni-channel approach across digital, social, print and
  • Content capability – differentiation was crucial for the brand to stand out from competitors and be NYT’s T Brand Studio offered high-quality production that would help the bank break the traditional banking creative of stock imagery, boardrooms and business people.

Using NYT audience consumption-behavior data, we could see how the NYT audiences were changing the way they engaged with new content. They were participating much more in interactive ways such as swiping, selecting etc. We used this to determine the optimum content format that would consciously engage readers, while educating them through the storytelling process.

We designed an interactive journey using original copy and stylish animated illustrations to help readers personalise the outcome and determine their core values based on the five core topics.

The journey was constructed to engage readers on the three pillars of Sustainable Investing:

  1. Inclusion: what would they add to their portfolio?
  2. Exclusion: what would they remove that doesn’t align to their values?
  3. Impact: what funds resonated most that would create impact? – similar to philanthropy, but with a return.

At the end, the reader was presented with a personalised and weighted portfolio based on what appeared to be most important to them, along with a little fact or statistic relevant to that result.

If the reader decided that they wanted to dive deeper into this result they could “Explore more” and be directed to 1 of 5 custom New York Timesian article on specifically linked to their portfolio result.

To reduce disruption in this transition from publisher to bank, the article also featured its own illustrations with the same aesthetic style to smooth out the reader journey.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

This was a multichannel approach with foundations in behavioral sciences. Our strategy leveraged the insight that repetition, relevancy and consistency were key for recall of the brand amongst competitors .

By hitting the audience across a range of different online and offline channels that spoke to them using a unified message in a way relevant to their current consumption habits, we were ensuring both mental availability for our campaign and capturing users whenever and however they choose to consume content.

We raised awareness with print ads, podcast spots and ad units within NYT Morning Briefing newsletters to ensure that we were present during the reader’s week, whether listening to the podcast on their morning commute, checking top stories at work via thee-newsletter or reading the paper on a Sunday.

  • Content: Interactive journey with custom animated illustrations and
  • Five articles on written by T Brand Studio and based on 1 of 5 possible results.
  • Print Advertisement: Published on the day of the digital launch and World Economic Forum (Climate Change focused).
  • Bespoke units in seven NYT Morning Briefing e-newsletters, each reaching 5 million people and resulting in 8,100 click-throughs to the Paid Post.
  • Ad spots within The Daily and Argument podcast shows : included a vanity URL S and UBS sound logo for recognition and access. There were 48.8M downloads and 9.6M unique users, resulting in 1,700 Paid Post page views with an average session time of 3:26.
  • Native and social ad units ran on and editorial social channels targeting the C-suites , BDMs and HNWls audience . For contextual targeting, we used the Homepage, Opinion, International News and Business DealBook sections .

We drove traffic via on-site native units across and NYT social media channels . Our bespoke social media drivers used a combination of static and animated elements based on our audience data and insights to ensure maximum engagement by readers.

The Result

The approach outperformed NYT and UBS benchmarks and drove real business results. Based on the success of the campaign mid-way through – UBS decided to localize the concept in the strongest and weakest markets (DE, SG, HK) using local publications . These partnerships are still running and already showing promising results.

  • 744k page
  • Average dwell time: 01:23 mins, plus additional 01:34 mins avg. dwell achieved on ‘Explore more’ result articles published on com.
  • 38,466 quiz
  • 19,277 clicks to
  • 82 ‘Contact us’ forms started on, 40 completed (x30 question form). If one of these leads invested with UBS the partnership will have paid for itself multiple times
  • 235 million NYT ad unit
  • 69% of readers said they felt that UBS was an expert on Sustainable Investing .
  • 60% of readers said they’d be likely to contact UBS following exposure to the content .


U.K., Germany, Switzerland, U.S., Hong Kong and Singapore

Client Quote:
“Rather than just telling a story, this program has engaged our audience on a deep and personalized level. Sustainable investing is fundamental to UBS and we’re very excited to see that tens of thousands of people chose to go through the quiz, all the way to the end” – Dr. Winfried Daun, Managing Director, Group Head Advertising, Brand Strategy & Media, UBS