Wunderman Thompson reveals life's "stinkiest" situations for First Direct

The campaign includes activations across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, along with Chanel 4, Sky, and Netflix, including prime- time spots during Love Island

By Creative Salon

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

Created by integrated marketing agency, 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, launching on 30th January, will be social-first, with 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 maximised with a big screen presence, with the video-on-demand ad live across Channel 4, Sky and Netflix from 1st February including prime- time spots during Love Island. Beginning 20th February 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 supports through savings accounts and spending insights.

Chris Wood, Head of Brand and Marketing at first direct, says: “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 that 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, adds: “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 & Will, Directors at Blinkink, comment: “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, likeable 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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