In this time of uncertainty, it can be hard to be brave.

Analogy time. 

I like to cook.

I’m not great at it (yet) but I am trying, to the point where I recently bought a meat thermometer – because I like my steak to be on the side of ‘bloody’. Thing is, it takes a certain amount of bravery to get it ‘just so’. Rather than erring on the side of something being undercooked, I tend to overdo it – you know, just to make sure it’s cooked and then it’s overdone – ruined. This is stupid. After all, if something is undercooked get it out – test it, put back in the oven and within a few seconds it could be perfect. 

When it comes to cooking, I’m close but no cigar.

In these strange, scary times of uncertainty, remote working and the feeling of isolation, this bravery is still needed in the Creative industry and agency landscape and there is still a place and need for brave creative – the kind of ideas and campaigns that make you sit up and pay attention, the ones that make you laugh, think and question – the ones that are just brilliant – the ones that are just perfect – cooked medium rare and not a moment more.

So, take it out of the oven a bit earlier than you thought and check it – make sure it’s not knackered before you serve it. This goes for that lamb rump, but more importantly, the creative we are producing to elevate it to the next level. How do we do that – ‘cos after all, there isn’t a ‘great idea thermometer’ is there? Well, actually, there is – it’s you.

So, stop over analysing and overthinking – if you feel something’s right, it probably is. Be brave – go with your gut, show people, challenge clients, challenge yourself and don’t let nagging doubts prevent you from getting it out there.

Throw away all those nearly great ideas and strive for the really great ones – 

take a risk, be brave; after all, no one got anywhere by being safe. 

And anyway, what’s the worst that can happen?

There are still a lot of brave ads out there cutting through the glut of Zoom-based COVID-19 videos – here is a selection of some that have caught my eye in the last year or so.

Our list of the Bravest Ads that cut through the noise

Viva La Vulva: 

Following on from the #BloodNormal ad of 2017. Feminine hygiene brand Libresse (Bodyform in the UK) followed up with an equally brave and arresting film that encouraged women to love their lady parts and celebrate body positivity and diversity. The ad tackled the taboo subject of feminine hygiene in a humorous and engagingly brave way that is a million miles away from the ‘blue water on panty liner’ ads of years gone by and contributing to a culture where women can be proud of what they have – all delivered with a wicked sense of humour.

The British Army’s ‘Snowflake’ campaign:

Taking the piss out of an entire generation? Brave move – or just plain foolish? Definitely a risky strategy. However, despite the backlash and controversy, this piece of bravery helped deliver the biggest recruitment numbers to the British Army in years – including, on the day of launch, the highest number of registrations in 12 months. Turns out the risk was worth it.

Churchill Insurance: 

As part of a wider rebrand, Churchill Insurance took the brave move of putting the well loved nodding ‘oh yesh’ Churchill bulldog of old that had been the symbol of the company since 1996 to sleep. Old ‘Churchie’s’ computer-generated replacement cruises the streets on a skateboard literally putting the ‘Chill’ back into insurance and in the process, bringing a traditional Insurance brand right into the 21st Century.

Carlsberg – Probably (not) the best beer in the world:

After 40 years of saying its lager is ‘Probably the best beer in the world’ – in 2019, Carlsberg finally took the brave step of admitting what we’ve all known for a very long time, that it really isn’t. The campaign was brutally honest in its execution stating that ‘somewhere along the line they had lost their way and focussed on quantity rather than quality’. Taking it further they also made short social media videos in which employees read out the meanest things people have said about their beer. I can only imagine the reaction when the idea was pitched but, in a refreshing example of bravery from the client, they chose to go with it. I, for one, applaud them for that.