Iconic Ads/Statue: State Street – Fearless Girl

The girl had a global appeal to her. Everyone may identify with a girl, regardless of gender or age.

The asset management firm, State Street Global Advisors, opted to advertise for an index fund that included companies with a varied gender mix and a high proportion of women in senior leadership positions.

McCann New York erected a feisty girl monument next to the famous Charging Bull sculpture in the Financial District to honour State Streets’efforts to increase the proportion of women on company boards.

The Right Symbol

The brief had landed on the desks of the creative team of Tali Gumbiner and Lizzie Wilson.

They first looked at the right symbol

Wall Street has always been dominated by men, and many people—whether they realise it or not—perceive male executives as the backbone of a company’s success, so they looked for a means to change this perception. For the brief, they couldn’t merely do a print advertisement. It’d be a waste of time.

They looked over all of the ways they could rewrite the narrative. This had never been done before and wanted it disruptive. And then the bull showed up in front of them out of nowhere!

When she was a child, Tali remembered standing close to The Charging Bull and taking photographs. This was one of the souvenirs she brought back from her trips to New York as children. It was framed and displayed in various places in the house. This meant that as they hurried off to school each morning, they would pass by the bull and imagine themselves standing next to it. In the afternoon, when they returned, the same was true. During the day, as well as at night – even when they were about to sleep.

This bull emanated power. Although he is undeniably masculine, no one talked about it. People queued up to get their hands on his private parts! It had to be given a new interpretation. That’s where the girl came from.

The Defiance

They had a consensus on that, they then began brainstorming about what the alter ego should be to bring in the woman component.

It wasn’t even a girl at first. State Street was given a concept for a female bull. A female bull, even though they knew McCann was happy, State Street was not enthused and rejected the idea. Finally, McCann came around. First of all, there was no female bull, it would have to be a cow – not something worthwhile to show female emancipation and empowerment

They looked for an alternative. “How about a little girl with her hands on her hips staring down the bull?” the creative team wondered. They wanted her to be poised, confident and assertive not antagonistic

Despite numerous alterations, State Street was slow to sign on. With State Street’s permission, when McCann had the opportunity, they presented it to Microsoft (Microsoft was their client). McCann approached the proposal as part of a campaign to promote the role of women in technology. Kathleen Hall, Microsoft’s vice president of brand and advertising, was a fan of the campaign and provided McCann with valuable feedback, including the idea of making Fearless Girl a little older than originally planned. However, she was convinced that it would be better for a brand like State Street rather than Microsoft

The Statue

McCann wanted a lady sculptor. They wanted a full female team, including the photographer.

McCann’s production team chose Kristen Visbal. In December, they provided the artist with a brief. The procedure of manufacturing bronze objects was unchanged as the Romans started making them. For anything like this, it takes months of work. And they worked nonstop, often keeping unreasonable hours.

An amalgamation of several girls in Kristen’s hometown, as well as a few reference pictures, formed the girl. McCann’s attention to detail in creating Kristen’s appearance was impressive. They wanted her to be able to connect with a wide range of girls and women. They didn’t want anyone to feel left out when they saw this girl, so they put in a lot of effort to create a composite of several distinct models and sources.

The power poses that women have served as an inspiration for this stance. There was also a TED Talk about power poses by a woman. The hands on the hips are such a wonderful thing to do as a child that you don’t get to do as an adult. It was sensitive because they wanted her to be strong and confident, but not irate.

Every nuance of her pose, from her facial expression to her slant and angle, was thoughtfully crafted to convey a very specific message. They did not want her to be hostile. They desired for her to exude self-assurance. A delicate balancing act, too.

The reason a girl was chosen over a woman were many. The girl had a global appeal to her. Everyone may identify with a girl, regardless of gender or age. She had the impression that she was one of the “in” crowd.

McCann was looking for an underdog character, and they found one in her. They didn’t want this to be a one-dimensional look at women in the modern era. They hoped to inspire tomorrow’s leaders. They also believed that an older woman would not have the same emotional impact as a young girl. However, it was a subject that was extensively debated. As a child, she had a profound effect on others, and she was even more inspiring than a woman.

The Installation

Fearless Girl stands at around 50 inches (130 cm) (110 kg). It faced the 11-foot (3.4 m) tall bronze Charging Bull (3,200 kg). Kristen Visbal and her colleagues adjusted the girl’s height from the original 36 inches to one that more closely matched the size of Charging Bull.

On March 7, 2017, the day before International Women’s Day, the statue was unveiled.

A year may be needed to create a single bronze statue. In only a few months, the team managed to pull it off. Wilson asserts that the project would not have been completed on time if the team members weren’t “so motivated.”

At the northern end of Bowling Green, the statue was first erected on Broadway, facing the Charging Bull monument. It was taken down in November 2018 after the sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, expressed his displeasure with its new placement. The original location of Fearless Girl now has a plaque with footprints on it.

The following was written on a plaque below the statue: “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference,” SHE was the fund’s NASDAQ ticker symbol and the gender of the statue

As of April 2017, the statue generated $7.4 million in free exposure for State Street.

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