Marketing Brand Purpose News

Adam Morgan of Eatbigfish on brands being ‘anti-blah’ and more challenger

By Jenni Baker | journalist

August 31, 2021 | 4 min read

Sponsored by:

What's this?

Sponsored content is created for and in partnership with an advertiser and produced by the Drum Studios team.

Find out more

It’s not about resource and money, it’s about ideas and having the freedom to be creative and not play according to the rules – that’s what makes a successful challenger brand today. And brand marketers need to keep an open mind, use their peripheral vision to think about things differently and not just observe the status quo.

MYMH: Adam Morgan of Eatbigfish on brands being ‘anti-blah’ and more challenger

Adam Morgan of Eatbigfish on brands being ‘anti-blah’ and more challenger

Those are the key takeaways from the third instalment of our ‘Meet Your Marketing Hero’ video series, in partnership with The Trade Desk. In it, Adam Morgan, the founder of Eatbigfish who has dedicated over 22 years to supporting challenger brands, sat down with Elizabeth Stone, a partnerships marketing manager at Zego. Stone, who is also a member of the Marketing Innovation Lab community, was eager to learn more about her marketing hero’s perspectives on what it takes to be a challenger brand today.

For Morgan, the definition of challenger brand has evolved. “It’s not number one and it’s not niche; it’s one of those brands in the middle ground. But it’s not a state of market, it’s a state of mind, with business ambitions bigger than its conventional marketing resources and wanting to do something bold and imaginative to close the implications of that gap. And it’s about sustained commercial success – not just doing something dramatic and then fading out.”

He continues: “People tend to think it’s small, relatively new – David versus Goliath is a particular narrative – but one thing I love is seeing very big, old brands take a challenger mindset and completely reinvent themselves. Anybody can take a challenger mindset and use it to really revitalize and galvanize their business.”

When it comes to advice for those starting out in the world of marketing and branding, Morgan says the best thing you can be is “more challenging and anti-blah”. He expands on this: “The dirty little secret about branding and marketing is that most of it is blah and very mediocre. The first thing is to recognize that and start working with people and companies that don’t want that. And have peripheral vision – add value by keeping that cross-category, broader perspective and bring it with you. It’s critical to have fresh thinking in everything we do.”

As for how you go about edging an organization towards being more challenger, he has this to say: “You have to take them on a journey that is commercially rooted, that gradually gets them excited. It’s also about hunting as a pack and making that case for change. Cross-disciplinary conviction can be so powerful. Very simple and obvious things in retrospect, but in my experience – when it goes wrong, it’s because one of those things hasn’t been taken seriously enough.”

Panel speakers headshots

Watch the full interview here, hosted by Hilary Umeh, senior director of business development at The Trade Desk, where Morgan also talks through his Hollywood years; conversations with the founders of Oakley and Diesel, and a creative director who lived by the adage “push the idea until it breaks”; his work with Virgin Atlantic and Sony PlayStation; and why it’s essential to “wrap a cultural bubble around the challenger strategy”.

All episodes in the Meet Your Marketing Hero series can be found here:

Marketing Brand Purpose News

Content created with:

The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk™ is a global technology company that empowers buyers of advertising. Through its self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage, and optimise more expressive data-driven digital advertising campaigns across ad formats, including display, video, audio, native and, social, on a multitude of devices, such as computers, mobile devices, and connected TV. Integrations with major data, inventory, and publisher partners ensure maximum reach and decisioning capabilities, and enterprise APIs enable custom development on top of the platform. Headquartered in Ventura, CA, The Trade Desk has offices across North America, Europe, and Asia. To learn more, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Find out more

More from Marketing

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +