Mark Campion of Fearless Union picks his (fearless) Desert Island Ads

Mark Campion is a co-founder and creative director of new agency Fearless Union.

We’ve had mixed reviews on our new creative agency name. It’s been challenged by Parliamentary Lords (God’s honest) and industry peers alike.


It shows that ‘Fearless’ actually means something. Some might dismiss it out of hand, others respect the hustle it evokes – but everyone has something to say about it. I’d go out on a limb and say it’s because we’ve all had our own fearlessness tested at some point. Often, all we get is a shameful memory of how we fell short as our trophy.

But, in an attempt to make you a believer, I’d like to present some work that shows fearlessness is alive, well, everywhere and amazing to witness. Please withhold any premature scoffing. It may not be what you expect. Here’s my top 5 fearless campaign picks.

Desert Island Ads

1. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Leading man Isaiah Mustafa may have aged better than the humour in Old Spice’s 2010 campaign, but when this broke, it arguably changed everything.

So, why fearless you ask? It’s so famous we can all recite the script word for word. But, that’s not what I’m talking about. This here is one fearless client.

Granted, they were backed into a corner with their brand under threat of sale if they didn’t turn it around. What option would you have other than a Hail Mary?

Even so, some poor Marketing Director, coasting on an ageing reputation, had to give the nod. Then perhaps go to bed early to stare squarely at the ceiling and think “What have I done…?”

I’ll tell you what you did. You made advertising history. Maybe if we all pretended every ad might be our last, we’d make more of it?

2. Bodyform – Blood Normal

This one goes out to fearless creativity. In an industry comfortable in taking shelter behind sanitised views of consumers lives, here we have some real talk.

We’re coming from a place where for decades it was standard practice for sanitary products to use blue liquid in product demos. God forbid the audience get a glimpse of the red stuff.

How fantastic and simultaneously disappointing, an idea as simple as “let’s just show it how it is” was so groundbreaking. Fearless can be as insignificant as telling the bloody truth.

3. Go Compare – Gio Compario Dies

Say what you like. The team behind Gio is fearless.

We’ve all tried to kill him..literally. Consumers. Agencies. They called his final curtain in 2012. But, he’s still going strong. What a feat.

I think it’s fearless to know when you have the right answer. To not cave in to superficial opinion or vainglorious creative ego. To stay the course. Gio knows he does the job well and sticks two fingers up to the industry while he does it.

You don’t have to like the big guy, but you really have to respect what he stands for. Standing your ground.

4. Rio Paralympics – We’re The Superhumans

Low hanging fruit? Don’t care. What an absolute banger. Strategy, execution, production. Pack up the awards, it’s a done deal. But, where I feel this wins out on the fearless bit is in the gargantuan task of assembling the humans fit for this task. In less skilled hands, this would have been at best mediocre, at worst a PR disaster.

140 people with just as many non-athletes as Paralympic stars. Flying planes, playing in bands, raising children, tap-dancing, rock-climbing and even driving a wheelchair through a wall. Topped off by the superhuman directorial skill of Dougal Wilson.

It’s easier sometimes to opt for the standard package. But, get the right, bespoke set of people together and you’re guaranteed to be left with a rip roaring success story.

5. Tide – It’s A Tide Ad

Stop. Before we go any further, ask yourself; could we do this differently? It’s certainly what Tide has done with their Superbowl ads. “It’s a Tide Ad” is my personal fave as it utterly dunks on every other superbowl ad, ever. With one powerful, small, fearless question right at the beginning of the whole process, Tide won the game without lifting a finger.

It’s fearless to constantly ask if we should change the game up. After all, it’s our game to change. Flexing around a problem. Inviting scrutiny on the plan in the pursuit of something better, more simple, more suited to the need of the ask.

It keeps us ahead of the game in every respect.

Whatever you think of the work, I hope at least it shows being fearless takes many forms. It’s not always going ten rounds with Mike Tyson. In my experience it’s more about approaching every little thing we do with the same fearless outlook.

Fear less, amigos.

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