Q&A: Alex Bogusky Partners with Fusion & Launches Fearless Unlimited, A Social Impact Agency

Early Wednesday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that “famed ad man” Alex Bogusky is partnering with Fusion (a multi-platform media company) to launch a new agency called Fearless Unlimited.

Fearless is dubbing itself as a Social Impact Agency. They promise to deliver “social impact stories” to the Millenial Generation — an audience that they believe is “hungry to learn and then get to work.”


Alex Boguskly Fearless


Mr. Bogusky is one of the advertising industry’s living legends. His laundry list of awards and contributions to the creative industry goes without saying–queue the “thug life” soundtrack. Yet, when we asked him about his new agency, he responded: “This story isn’t really about me. It’s about Dagny and Leslie [his partners at Fearless].”

So without further adieu, we bring you a Q&A with all three founders of Fearless Unlimited. In this exclusive Q&A, the three founders–Dagny Scott, Leslie Freeman, and Alex Bogusky– discuss their new agency model, their goals for the platform, and their developing client relations.

Fearless & The Creative Ham: The Q&A

You’ve launched agencies before — CP+B, Made Move, Humanaut — why Fearless Unlimited? Why now?

alex bogusky Alex: Since leaving CP+B I have been a founder/advisor in three agencies Made Movement, Humanaut and now Fearless. I like to joke that I’m the world’s smallest holding company. They’re all very different.

Made focuses on US job creation by working with clients that do that. I love that the guiding principles are built into the model. Dave Schiff and I had a series of breakfasts for about a year before we came up with the idea and took the leap. I was 100% sure that Dave could pull off building an agency. It’s tough and it takes a weird combination of skills and attributes. He’s got them all.

Humanaut is all about innovation. From startup to large client, from a germ tracking app to a SuperBowl commercial these are the brand invention agency. Their founder David Littlejohn is the most curious person I know and can’t stop inventing and they are incredible at it.

So you may also be thinking I only partner with people named Dave, which I myself had worried that might be true, so I’m relieved to be partnering with Dagny and Leslie on Fearless Unlimited. I partner with people who I’ve worked with in the past who I feel have what it takes. This is my second attempt to lure Dagny into a venture and this time it worked. Leslie and Dagny will be the driving force with this shop. They kick so much ass there is no ass left for me to kick. I’m just along for the ride to help. Put a steady hand on the tiller from time to time.

Fearless will be unique in three ways. 1. Our target audience: Millennials.2. Our focus on social good messaging. (Something millennials find critical even in brand messages) 3. Our built-in distribution within the Fusion platforms.

Two female founders is rare for an agency. Why do you think that is?

alex boguskyAlex: I hadn’t thought about it much but it did come up in social media yesterday. I’m not sure why that is and we never thought about it but it’s cool. Dagny and Leslie probably have more insight here.

leslie freemanLeslie: Yeah, I’ve certainly noticed it’s rare, and I wish I could point to a satisfying answer for why it’s the case or what could change it. For us, we didn’t intentionally design it this way. It’s really about the fact that we have a blast working together and have some rare alchemy that makes us capable of producing great work. Maybe that’s it – cultivating working relationships that accommodate discomfort or difference in order to yield something powerful.

dagny scottDagny: I’m hopeful this is one of those lagging indicators, and that young women graduating today won’t see starting their own thing as a big deal. The fact is that in any industry with travel and unpredictable hours, it’s a struggle for women with children. I can tell you from experience as a single mom that when the meeting is running long because you’re finally cracking some tough challenge, part of you is sitting and sweating, wondering if your kid is being thrown out on the curb as they lock the doors because gymnastics class ended half an hour earlier. Some dynamics have started to change this, from dads becoming more insistent about sharing in child care, to schools recognizing the realities of working women’s schedules, to the nation hosting a conversation about how things we’ve traditionally thought of as women’s reproductive issues are in fact economic issues that affect all of us. These things matter in terms of growing the pool of women who can rise within the industry.

Talk to us about your partnership with Fusion. How did this come about?

alex boguskyAlex: The CEO of Fusion, Isaac Lee, came out to Boulder to meet about the idea of working together. He had followed my career and what I have been up to lately working on consumer empowerment and campaigns for causes and non profits and thought there was some good potential. We sat down with his team and started riffing. I quickly got very excited about the potential of the Fusion platforms but I was really fuzzy about how we would build the right model. Suddenly Isaac jumps up and sketches the design out on the board. That was it. We just went to work building it. And sitting there I knew we would need to build it around Dagny and Leslie. Luckily they got it as fast as I did.

leslie freemanLeslie: The partnership made sense of how to do social impact. Fusion has the trust and attention of a powerful community that cares about issues. So it makes sense for clients who want outcomes to have a conversation with this audience, and it’s our job to find innovative ways to make that happen.

If you’re willing to disclose, are there any early clients that you’re excited to work with already?

alex boguskyAlex: It has been incredible to see the reaction to the idea and the deep connections Leslie and Dagny have made with past clients. There are several we can’t mention yet but there are a couple that we can.  I’ll let Dagny and Leslie have that honor.

dagny scottDagny: Absolutely, the best part of all this is the work we get to focus on. We’re digging in strategically with Live Earth, the global series of concerts coming this summer to help drive the world’s leaders toward action on climate change. Also, we’ll be working with The California Endowment on youth empowerment. There is a currently disenfranchised population that is inordinately affected by things like water quality and health care access, so we’ll be helping them to think about creating the tools for these folks to help create progress in those areas.

leslie freemanLeslie: We’d love to be able to talk about other clients but can’t just yet. I can say that we’re very excited to be working with them, and on some really cool stuff.

Does the future demand a new kind of advertising agency? What qualities does this new agency need to have?

alex boguskyAlex: A lot of people expected that I would launch a “do good” agency a few years ago and I really looked hard at it but rejected the idea because I didn’t see any models they really worked well for the clients that needed it most. Advertising today is still working if you have a big budget. But small advertisers (which are usually the most interesting ones with the most interesting stories) with budgets between 1 and 20 million and even more have trouble finding eyeballs and measuring effectiveness. By embedding ourselves into the media platform we’ll be able to really deliver for the small and midsize advertiser and tell their stories in unique ways across a broad range of touch points. The most interesting clients are so interesting that they really can be content. That’s who we’ve always wanted to help and work with and now we have a design and structure to do it.

What should we expect to see from Fearless Unmlimited in 2015?

alex boguskyAlex: We want to change the landscape for our clients. Clients who are doing incredible things and have incredible stories deserve an incredible agency that can deliver an incredible advantage. I think you’ll see us do that.

leslie freemanLeslie: I love that. Our clients have amazing ideas and visions. But it can be impossibly complex these days knowing how to chart a course forward. This year is about creating an easy and efficient platform for our clients to do just that.

dagny scottDagny: Right. Like any brilliant strategy it can seem so obvious in retrospect, but getting to things like simplicity and effectiveness is tricky. We’re laying the groundwork so our clients can simply do great work that gets results.

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