As ever, this year’s Most Contagious delivered some outstanding talks, one of which was a review of Fearless Girl. Most people are pretty well versed in the work of the Cannes 2017 winner, but that didn’t stop a 2-minute mood film receiving rapturous applause and a number of misty eyes. State Street Global Advisors and the creative time behind Fearless Girl achieved what all marketers set out to do; create something authentic that relevantly engages in a wider cultural discussion.

So, here’s 12 things I didn’t know about the campaign:

  1. The client did the heavy lifting by already starting the SHE Fund which provides investment results that correspond with companies with diverse gender leadership.
  2. The brief wasn’t for a statue, it was for print and a couple of hyper-targeted digital banners. This shows the importance of sharing briefs within an agency, because often others who aren’t close to the account see potential in seemingly BAU briefs.
  3. The idea didn’t start as a girl but as a female bull. However, despite even getting to the design phase of this idea, they thought putting up a big cow wouldn’t have the impact they were after.
  4. The team decided that the statue had to be bronze or nothing, which meant sinking the entire production budget into the statute itself.
  5. They didn’t receive planning to put the statue on the current cobbles, so rather than putting Fearless Girl on the road, they simply extended the cobbled area themselves.
  6. Timing was everything: coinciding with International Women’s Day meant they could join wider conversations (although they quickly became the centrepiece).
  7. There was a LOT of detailed planning on how they were to create a movement. A key insight was to do the stunt the day before International Women’s Day.
  8. They didn’t name the statue until very late on. Luckily, they realised that if they didn’t name it, the press and public would, which could potentially change the narrative surrounding her.
  9. At 8pm, the day before they were set to go live, Fearless Girl died due to SSGA’s legal team raising a number of potential legal backlashes. However, the CMO stood his ground and made the brave call to go ahead with the stunt anyway.
  10. The image of the statue that went viral (above) wasn’t an accident. The team used a journalistic photographer to capture the girl and bull at sunrise, when the area was empty but light.
  11. SSGA did very well financially from the campaign. There’s often criticism that people were aware of the statue without relating it to SSGA, however, overall targets were more than met.
  12. SSGA themselves got sued internally for their lack of gender balance! However, this was tackled head on and they did improve, meaning they really can talk the talk and walk the walk.

Fearless Girl’s permit is currently set to April ‘18, but, in the current climate, her defiant pose against Charging Bull feels sadly more relevant than ever. It’ll be a brave person who decides to take her four months from now.