blog post coming

A couple months ago I came across a fairly familiar mascot that pops up from time to time in New York. It’s a large inflatable rat that parks itself in front of establishments that are using non union people for union jobs (that’s my assumption at least). But for this particular time I didn’t see the rat in person, but inside an ad for HSBC. Like a lot of others I’m confused as to why they would want to use such a controversial image for part of it’s marketing campaign? I’m also wondering if there was any litigation involved? I’m also wondering how that was approved b/c I could certainly learn a thing or two about how that concept was sold…

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  • jonsel

    HSBC's tagline is “The world's local bank” so it certainly makes sense from the perspective that they use understandably local imagery in their campaigns. Having seen The Rat for years now, it's almost like a NYC institution. I don't know if they use it in other places around the country or not. I think Gothamist or Gawker used to post Rat-sightings. Just part of the NYC visual landscape. In the context of HSBC, I read it as their acknowledgment of the local environment and that they “get it”.

    However, how did I never notice the stomach of blistery infection?? Yikes! They could have photoshopped that part out!

  • jonsel

    By the way, is that Rat copyrighted anywhere? Is it even possible to do that? And who would own it?

  • michaelsurtees

    that was one of my thoughts – it's the exact replica that I'm assuming that didn't get any right's signed off on, though maybe they did and the union was fine with it.

  • michaelsurtees

    i can buy you're argument up to a point, but i don't think that being “the world's local bank” is only for union supporters which is how i read the three words.

  • jonsel

    I found some background in an old Fast Company article:

    I guess the creator of the balloon itself would own rights to it. I get confused, though, with what is regarded as public domain imagery and what isn't with stuff like this.

    There are numerous options for unions too, including festering and non-festering belly as well as the greedy pig!

  • michaelsurtees

    thanks for digging that stuff up