HSBC unveils pro-LGBT lion artworks

After turning its APAC headquarters into one of Hong Kong’s largest canvasses to show support for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, HSBC has recently unveiled replicas of Stephen and Stitt, the iconic HSBC lions, which have been turned into art pieces inspired by the colours of the pride rainbow.

The unveiling is the culmination of HSBC’s campaign: "Celebrate pride, celebrate unity". The campaign encourages support for Hong Kong’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from within the LGBT community itself as well as from all those who support equality for everyone.

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The bank collaborated with Michael Lam, a renowned local LGBT artist, who was inspired to create the artwork by the concepts of pride and unity. The pattern on the two lions is different – Stephen is painted in stripes inspired by the pride flag; while Stitt is painted in circles, representing unity in diversity.

Diana Cesar, group general manager and chief executive of Hong Kong, and Kevin Martin, group general manager and regional head of retail banking and wealth management of Asia-Pacific, unveiled the lions.

“Stephen and Stitt are powerful symbols of Hong Kong and I am sure that the bold new interpretations of these replicas will strike a chord with all who pass by,” said Cesar.

Martin added, “Understanding and embracing everyone’s unique perspectives, beliefs and experiences is core to HSBC’s values. This campaign demonstrates our commitment to achieving a truly open and diverse working environment and I am confident it will continue driving the conversation beyond our own walls to our clients, peers and wider community.”

From 15 November, the HSBC main building lightshow is also featuring messages of pride and unity as well as the names of HSBC’s LGBT community and its allies to form a visual spectacle.

While a photo of the lions shared on HSBC Hong Kong's official Facebook page alone drew almost 5,000 'likes' and 'hearts', and received wide-spread praise from netizens, the act has also sparked some controversy. Some commenters on the Facebook post threatened to close their accounts, while others praised the bank's inclusive efforts.

Meanwhile, The Family School SODO Concern Group, Parents for the Family Association, Overturning LGBT Agena and Next Generation Orientation have launched a joint online petition expressing disapproval at the display, the South China Morning Post reports.


Client: HSBC
Agency: Grey Hong Kong
Regional director PR & corp comms: Huma Qureshi