Banking group HSBC has been forced to defend its new advertising campaign which has upset Brexiteers who view it as ‘anti-Brexit’.
The campaign, launched just days before Parliament votes on the government’s Brexit plan, celebrates the influence of other countries and cultures on the United Kingdom.
It references how much Britons enjoy drinking coffee from Colombia, watching American movies, assembling flat-pack furniture from Sweden and using mobile phones and tablets from Korea.
It talks about the country’s enjoyment of Dutch beer and foods from around the world like tikka masala.
The ‘We Are Not An Island’ campaign is a continuation of the global bank’s ‘Together We Thrive’ campaign which celebrates the UK’s diversity and multicuturalism. Regional variations have been used at billboard sites across the country.
Some Brexiteers complained the marketing campaign was ‘anti-Brexit’ and took to Twitter to express their view.
MEP and former UKIP spokesman Patrick O’Flynn tweeted that the campaign was ‘really odd and ideologically aggressive’.
Columnist Tim Montgomerie tweeted: ‘We are an island actually – full of villages and towns your bank deserted; of cleaners you underpaid; and of money laundering and other laws you bent.’
He added: ‘Thanks for the lecture but we’ll manage without it.’
Twitter user Vince Cordall commented: ‘It’s about time we stopped naval gazing about the demise of the EU and started to appreciate the bigger picture.’
However, many others shared the adverts and billboards in support of the campaign.
Sandra Thompson-Drew said: ‘Saw this in today’s Metro I completely agree HSBC – we are part of something far, far bigger. Happy New Year and here’s hoping it’s a year that brings us together and not one that drives us further apart.’
Tiernan Brady said: ‘I simply love the HSBC ad – we are all connected & every bit of our lives crosses the lives, stories and cultures of others – we just have to notice. Anyway, I simply love the ad.’
Ben Tasker tweeted: ‘For a group who use the term ‘snowflake’ Brexiters really are a touchy lot. A set of fireworks, a single joke in a Doctor Who episode, and now a HSBC ad, all apparently Brexit snubs and causing upset.’
A spokesman for HSBC said: ‘We believe that the people, communities and businesses in the UK thrive most when connected and open.
‘Our ‘Global Citizen’ campaign is central to this, and with the ‘We Are Not An Island’ ads we are reinforcing our strong belief that the things that make us quintessentially British are the things that make us inescapably international.’