Tuff Enuff?

A few months ago, a brief landed on our desks. Could we please do some social posts to let everyone know that Vanguard do active investing. (And have done since 1975.) Oh, and if we could encourage at least a thousand people to sign up for Tough Mudder to prove the point, that would be great. Um… sure?

We settled on the idea of shooting people in business suits, covered in mud, with the headline ‘Are you as ACTIVE as us?’ The best bit about working in advertising is the weird stuff you end up doing, and watching a team of hair and makeup experts paint on fake mud with the precision of a Vogue covershoot, was an absolute highlight. Even if the bathrooms looked like something unspeakable had happened, after it was all washed off.

Fast-forward to the day itself. Adrenaline was high. Jitters were jittering. Merope was panic-eating pain au chocolats. Charlie tripped someone up on the train. And Dom told everyone he wasn’t wearing pants. It wasn’t a promising start. But once we got there, the sun was shining and there were free headbands, which put everyone at ease. That, and the fact we could tell our campaign had worked. 50% more IFAs than we aimed for, were currently stretching and mainlining energy drinks in a muddy field… On a work day. Nice.

It turns out agency life is the perfect preparation for Tough Mudder. AML knows how to rally under pressure. We’ve had years of thinking creatively to overcome hurdles, practising teamwork, and drawing on everyone’s different strengths to reach a common goal. Besides, if your team name is ‘The Buff Mudders’, you’re not doing things by halves. Dylan – the human crane – hauled more people over obstacles than he can remember. David dislocated a finger, popped it back in and carried on with the course. And Jack drank a beer whilst being violently electrocuted. I’ve never been so proud.

It was so good to see our work blown up on huge banners and on the sides of 40ft pyramid obstacles. I’m confident that every IFA who was there on the day, now knows that Vanguard do Active. So much so, that we might need to remind everyone about their indexing capabilities. Let’s hope that brief requires concepts for a Spa sign-up event. Because then I’ll definitely win.