Winner 2018




Lead Agency


Contributing Company



The Challenge

Following a successful global brand re-launch that focused on asking Life’s ‘questions’- in 2017, all eyes were on UBS.

For the next stage in the marketing strategy, the bank recognized a need to refocus communications and promote their thought leadership capabilities.


1. Position UBS as a thought leader and expert in financial services
2. Humanize, modernize and differentiate the bank
3. Drive positive perception

In order to overcome these challenges, some key questions needed to be asked: What did UBS want to be known for in 2017? What business objectives did they need to highlight publicly? What did they want existing/potential clients
to engage with?

UBS wanted to create true thought leadership through clear, consistent, relevant and valuable content however in order to do this effectively, also recognized a need to focus on fewer topics but provide deeper depth.
There were multiple challenges starting this approach. With three parts to the UBS business (Wealth Management, Investment Bank and Asset Management) there were a variety of senior stakeholders to align. With many divisions also came varying target audiences (HNWI, professional & institutional investors and entrepreneurs/affluent millennials). It was crucial that the 2017 communication themes not only engaged multiple audiences with consistent messaging but also met business objectives across all siloes.

To be successful, the campaign needed:

  • High visibility to the right audience
  • Strong engagement to drive real awareness
  • Communications to be focused and drive to business objectives
  • To create connections both in ecosystem and with audience.But how could we ensure topic authority, minimize competitive noise, and communicate at scale?

The Strategy

The campaign focused on 6 markets (UK, Germany, Switzerland, US, Hong Kong and Singapore).

Using a number of data strategies, Spark Foundry first matched the highest traffic categories on leading financial publications against UBS’ potential topic themes in order to identify the categories that would be most effective to
target in media.

This involved reviewing search data to determine which publications held highest authority in each of the themes, social engagement analysis to gain insight into what people were most interested in and audience ‘tribe’ analysis to establish the groups of audiences interested.

Finally, an integrated content ecosystem was created to demonstrate how these themes interconnected with other thought-leadership at the bank, so we could make use of their existing assets and create a solid user journey throughout UBS content off-site or back to, should the reader wish to keep exploring – also supporting SEO.

The conclusion of this analysis and workshopping with UBS resulted with ‘Sustainable Investing (SI)’ and ‘Investing in China’ being identified as the core business communication objectives for 2017.

The strategy surrounding each of these areas was to:
Build on existing knowledge and highlight UBS’ expertise within the (relatively new asset class), ‘Sustainable Investing’
Drive awareness of the banks expertise in China and the importance of how China can impact investment portfolios directly or indirectly.

Using a bespoke Spark Foundry designed scoring sheet, the agency scored 24 potential partners and workshopped each partner in Switzerland with UBS until deciding upon 3 publishers.

These publishers were proven to have the credibility to help strengthen UBS’ authority on each topic, access to the breadth of audience needed to create an interconnected communication ecosystem across the bank’s 3 business
areas, as well as the expertise to help meet the overall campaign objectives; CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and Mashable. In order to utilize the budget effectively and efficiently, communications needed to be launched

To reduce wastage, the strategy was to focus on x2 core themes, across 3 publishers, and interconnect all activity to keep users engaged within a UBS content ecosystem.

A content calendar connecting topical world events across the year and helped build our ‘thought leader’ reputation and benefit from global discussion.

The Implementation


We built upon knowledge of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to align custom content to the 17 SDGs.

The SDGs were used to demonstrate how there has never been a greater drive for “doing well by doing good” as well as allowed UBS to diversify the topics covered including Climate Action, Gender Equality. This breadth of topics
ensured that content appealed to multiple individuals and audiences. CNBC developed 17 short-films, articles and infographics creating an ‘always on’ strategy. Films were designed to be snackable highlighting businesses driving
social/environmental change and opportunities for investors in these sectors. Films appeared within primetime slots on CNBC’s television channel, takeovers were used on launch dates and digital formats were placed alongside
content identified in the initial data/social analysis.

Taking inspiration from topical themes discussed in the ‘Made In China 2025’ plan, award-winning WSJ. Custom Studios designed a multi-faceted programme highlighting the ‘Shift’ in China’s economy and how it is
increasingly fuelled by unexpected innovation.

The programme included 2 videos surrounding urban expansion and electric vehicles, 6 compelling articles on AI, Biotech, Smart Cities, Urban Development, Connected Factories, Green Cities & Precision Medicine and an
interactive infographic showing how China has shifted from ‘maker to Innovator’ over 10 years.

The content was delivered across 2 peaks (present and future); with 4 chapters each to create bursts of activity. Both bursts featured striking print creative to drive awareness.

The hub ( was promoted using digital/social placements and included a toggle to translate content into Chinese.

Mashable created 11 articles around SI with a focus on the UN’s SDGs/China to support CNBC/WSJ making the topic of investing more universally accessible. This was distributed to entrepreneurs, affluent millennials and future HNWI
across Mashable/social.

Topics were aligned with content from the other publishers and featured co-branded ads that drove back to CNBC/WSJ. Articles echoed visual/informational references for recall, message consistency as well as linking to Film cuts were used as pre-roll and takeovers promoted Mashable content or to CNBC/ WSJ. To support the launch of the first CNBC film, a Facebook Live panel on Mashable editorial social featuring a contributor from the film was conducted. UBS partnered with Mashable’s Social Good Summit, placing a senior leader on stage with Whoopi Goldberg/Pete Cashmore to discuss the importance of SI for the future of our planet.

The Result

The campaign exceeded expectations. During week one, 16,569 unique visitors (UV) visited the content viewing 21,936 pages. The average session duration was impressive – 5m 3s compared to Economist Group’s average of 2m
30s for engagement with infographics. Providing content in a visual format and launching it at a critical point during COP23 with a highly targeted social media campaign was working.

The high profile ‘Spotlight’ position on the EIU Perspectives website and increased impression numbers saw traffic rise further by 69% to 28,076 UV in week three. Even though COP23 had ended and the campaign was finishing, EI
Advisory decided to continue amplification as heavily as budget allowed; engagement increased again to 41,217 visits.

All parties then decided to trial different formats for organic social media promotion. A short video for the infographic content was quickly produced with video views increasing engagement through Twitter/Facebook.

On completion, a staggering 55,527 UV had visited the content spending an average of 6m 14s. 24% of those viewers returned (approx. 13,300), their dwell time increased to 10m 21s.
The content performed well in all target markets: 7,723 UV in EMEA, 17,875 in the Americas, 30,832 in APAC.
The advertising campaign on outperformed industry benchmarks with a clickthrough of 0.22% (300 x
250 unit) and 0.38% (970 x 250).
LinkedIn and Twitter were the best performing social platforms – 20,353 and 23,444 UV respectively – with 93% of traffic from mobile devices. This demonstrates that senior decision makers will engage with content promoted on social if compelling, timely and relevant.

Key influencers in the green finance debate also took notice, notably the Chief Economist, Department of International Trade, proving that the campaign had succeeded in raising the profile of Green Evaluations and S&P Global Ratings’ position at the forefront of this topical debate.