The Brief

Showcase how Willis helps clients to become resilient in an increasingly complex and interrelated world.

The Solution

A pioneering scientific expedition to the South Pole, led by 19 year-old climate change campaigner Parker Liautaud.

Willis has a high profile within its core insurance sector yet brand awareness in wider business spheres was minimal. Instead of opting for a mainstream sports sponsorship, Willis decided to fund a high-profile initiative that would tell its story to the public in a more relevant, genuine and compelling way.

With the help of Captive Minds, Willis created the Willis Resilience Expedition led by 19 Year-Old Climate Change Campaigner, Parker Liautaud. The expedition sought to:

Understand our changing world – via an ambitious 1,800km crossing of Antarctica during which hundreds of ice samples would be gathered from untouched parts of the polar plateau.

Highlight the resilience of the human spirit – in setting a new coast-to-pole speed record on foot from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole (560km).

The agency was engaged as a total project management solution responsible for all logistics, activation and communications. Captive Minds designed a custom-built studio in the lobby of the Willis building; produced a 16 x 1 hour TV series; managed 6 press and client events in London, New York and Iceland; developed a data-driven website; handled all PR and social communications; and delivered a safe and successful recording-breaking Antarctic expedition. We were also very proud to deliver the world’s first live video broadcast from Antarctica over the Iridium network – something which took several months of research and development.

Through Captive Minds’ activity, Willis was able to position itself as a global thought leader on climate issues. The campaign galvanised staff and stimulated rich conversations with Willis clients about the opportunities and threats facing their businesses today.


Brand awareness

  • Media coverage reached an audience in excess of 663,256,150 in 146 territories.
  • Twitter delivered 928,668 impressions and 46,086 clicks from a new expedition account.
  • World-first live coverage from the South Pole including ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’, the BBC, CNN, ITV, CNBC and The Weather Channel.

Global thought leadership

  • Willis became the forum for over 40 clients, industry experts and organisations to give their views on climate through the Willis TV series.
  • Parker named ‘Top 30 Under 30’ in Time Magazine.
  • Former Vice President Al Gore delivered a personal message to the Explorer’s Club launch and appeared on stage with Willis’ CEO at WEF, Davos.
  • Willis risk and science advisory staff in NY and London helped plan the expedition, one employee helped fulfill the mission in Antarctica, and 335 offices worldwide sent messages of support.
  • Willis associated with Parker Liautaud successfully setting two polar world records.

Sales and new business

  • Target client accounts experienced an average 35% increase in revenues, paying for the campaign many times over.
  • New business enquiries rose by 12%.