Open to the World
Every once in a while, an ad campaign captures an idea better than
a host of tomes or pundits. I was running through Roissy
airport several times last year to catch flights from the U.S. down
to the south of France when I was stopped in my tracks by a series
of larger than life photos for HSBC Bank.*
Bon, Mauvais, Mauvais, Bon (Good, Bad, Bad, Good)
Cool, Pas cool, Pas cool, Cool (Cool, Not cool, Not cool, Cool)
Moitié vide, Moitié plein (Half empty, Half
Clearly the message was that different people can see the same
thing quite differently
whether it's food, footwear or the
proverbial glass of water. The main ad caption elaborated: Etre
ouvert sur le monde, c'est de comprendre les differences de points
de vue. (To be open to the world is to understand different
points of view.)
As I traveled to France every few weeks, I began to look forward
to new updates to the campaign. I was not disappointed.
Passionnant, Ennuyeux, Ennuyeux, Passionnant (Riveting, Boring,
Vilain, Mignon, Mignon, Vilain (Ugly, Cute, Cute, Ugly)
Folie, Génie, Génie, Folie (Folly, Genius, Genius,
Force, Agilité, Agilité, Force (Strength, Agility,
Victoire, Défaite, Défaite, Victoire (Victory,
Defeat, Defeat, Victory)*
Journée, Soirée (Day, Evening)
Soirée, Journée (Evening, Day)
Chacun a son point de vue sur le monde. Quel est le vôtre?
(Everyone looks at the world from a different point of view.
What is yours?)
While the ads did not make me run out and open an account with HSBC,
they did remind me what a cultural crossroads Europe-and the planet
for that matter-is. They also reminded me that even though force
of habit, lack of time or even lack of interest can make being open
to the opinions of others difficult, respecting where others are
coming from can work miracles
and might bring at least a modicum
of world peace!
Next time you're passing through Roissy, keep your eyes open
for the attention-grabbing series.* It's worth a good pause.
* Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris is also known as Roissy.
Locals tend to say Roissy rather than Charles de Gaulle.
Most international flights go in and out of Roissy which
is located northwest of Paris. Orly airport south of the
city serves primarily the domestic market.
* Austerlitz is known as one of Napoleon's greatest victories. In
1805, the French emperor won a decisive victory against the Russians
and Austrians near Austerlitz, a small town in today's Czech Republic.
At Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon was soundly defeated by the English
and the Prussians. Waterloo is located in present-day Belgium.
* The HSBC ad campaign in France can also be viewed here: http://www.hsbcaeroports.fr
August 20, 2008
Return to list of archived articles