Campaign SpotlightPress Release

Wunderman Thompson UK and First Direct introduce ‘Skunk’ to call out the stinkiest situations in life

LONDON, UK — Integrated marketing agency Wunderman Thompson UK’s provocative new brand platform for insurance company first direct has launched, which calls out the stinky truth about being skint.

Young people have had a tough time in recent years. A broken housing market, the spiraling price of fuel, wage squeezes, and even cutting down on dating due to inflation, all ladder up a disastrous cost-of-living crisis and shrinking opportunities for a whole generation.


Created by Wunderman Thompson UK, this campaign calls out the stinkiest situations in life. Life might be hard, but first direct can offer a whiff of hope thanks to the bank’s range of helpful products and services, including a new partnership with Shelter which offers renters free help and advice to tackle housing problems.

The integrated campaign has activations across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. PHD UK and Kepler handled the media, ensuring that all media for the campaign was bought in an “unbanklike way.” With a mix of traditional and non-traditional, OOH formats were planned and bought with audience data at the heart and served programmatically, with dynamic creative messaging running throughout. The media is also maximized with a big screen presence, with the video-on-demand ad live across Channel 4, Sky, and Netflix including prime-time spots during Love Island. Beginning February 20, Xbox players will be met with an interactive landing page experience challenging them to complete a first direct branded mini-game for Xbox vouchers.

The creative features a hero spot set in a café with the skunk highlighting all the financial issues that the youth of Britain are facing and how first direct can offer them “a whiff of hope” with their products. Humorous shorter films show our skunk sniffing out other financial issues and show how first direct support through savings accounts and spending insights.

Chris Wood, Head of Brand and Marketing at first direct, said, “This new campaign is here to demonstrate how first direct can help a generation of younger customers who are feeling more concerned than ever about their financial situations. Skunk brings our offering to life perfectly, using relatable situations and clever quips to show how first direct’s products and services can give people the chance to live a better life through the financial decisions they make.”

Tom Drew, Executive Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson UK, added, “The nation’s skint. And it stinks. It’s brilliant that a brand is brave enough to say it how it is in black and white”.

Jonny and Will, Directors at Blinkink, commented, “Bringing Skunk to life was great fun. In the puppet design process, we kept it super graphical, using black and white styling in line with the first direct branding. We all wanted a youthful, cheeky, likable character with a huge expressive tail. It was important to ground the puppet in the real world, interacting with the people around him. Keeping Skunk’s overall performance subtle helped to bind all the elements together and give the sense that he’s looking around and people watching in an everyday, relatable setting, lit with natural light.”


Wunderman Thompson UK
Executive Creative Director: Tom Drew
Creative Director: James Humphreys
Creative Director: Craig Hunt
Creative: Charli Plant
Creative: Laura Saraiva
Managing Partner: Sally Emerton
Senior Account Director: Alexandra Moore
Chief Strategy Officer: Sid McGrath
Senior Planner: Bishan Morgan
Senior Producer: Charlie Woodall
Senior Producer: Sara Blackett
Creative Services Director: Maxene Edghill
Head of Art: Guy Sexty
Designer: Jacqui Stecher
Designer: Zara Veasy
Social Editor: Deri Watt

Digital Media: Kepler

Media: PHD

PR agency: Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Social agency: We are Social

Production Company: Blinkink
Directors: Jonny & Will

Audio Facility: Factory

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