COM grad fires Nick Fury, crafts winning campaign for Marvel

Collage of images featuring Marvel characters and COM alum Vanessa de Beaumont.

Vanessa de Beaumont (COM’17) had no idea she’d be filming an ad campaign with Samuel L. Jackson barely a year after she joined Mischief as a senior copywriter.

On her first day at the ad agency, her new team was starting on a pitch for Marvel SNAP, a new mobile game that, later, would be named Mobile Game of the Year.

Dozens of scripts later, one idea stood out: firing Nick Fury from S.H.I.E.L.D.

Back in spring of 2020, nobody had heard of Mischief. Founded later that summer in New York, the agency almost immediately launched itself into the national spotlight, earning “Top 3 Advertising Agency of the Year” from Campaign US barely six months later. They’ve continued collecting awards since then, including Ad Age’s top prize in 2022: Agency of the Year.

De Beaumont is also no stranger to recognition. She ranked No. 12 on The One Show’s 2020 top copywriters in the world, and has already collected a bevy of awards, including Clios, Effies, Andys, Webbys and more than a few One Show Pencils.

As an advertising student at COM, she met her first creative director at the COM Creative Cafe, then hosted by Professor Edward Boches. She worked for Arnold, then MullenLowe Boston, and followed by DAVID Miami. 

De Beaumont shared with COM how the whole campaign and commercial came together:

Since Marvel SNAP allows players to assemble a team from characters across the entire Marvel Universe, it seemed to us that Nick Fury, the man responsible for assembling the Avengers, was now redundant. 

So I wrote a script about firing Nick Fury. The awkward exit interview. The moment that S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents had to break the news to him. It seemed insane at the time. 

A couple of months later, we heard that Mischief had won the pitch. It was a thrilling victory for the entire agency. And I was incredibly proud to have played a big part in it. Then we heard that our clients wanted to bring this script to life. Clients buying work from pitch presentations just simply doesn’t happen all that often. But they did. And the version that’s live today is a solid 80% what was written that first week.

The next big challenge was negotiating with Samuel L. Jackson. Hearing that he had signed on was surreal. 

Next we secured an incredible director in Steve Rogers—not Captain America (although that coincidence was too good to be true). We sat in on hours and hours of casting until we landed some amazing talents, including Nika King from HBO’s “Euphoria.” 

We spent a week in LA, shooting in the old LA Times building. The entire cast was incredible. Our clients were delighted by how well they all immediately worked so well together. Samuel L. Jackson was affable and charismatic. His personality was every bit like he seems. I’d love to take credit for his “Are you out of your fu—” at the end of the spot. But that was all him. 

Our production partners, including Steve, were amazing. He even let me sit in his chair on set and do a little directing for a social spot that was part of the campaign. 

There are more films to come. They are shorter, punchier social vignettes featuring the same cast (including Samuel L. Jackson). They build off of the arc of the launch film in funny ways.

All-in-all, this entire project went brilliantly. The entire Mischief team is incredible. Full of all-stars from top to bottom. Our clients were true partners who shared the same vision as us. 

Our cast was so talented and so easy to work with. Our production partners were A1. 

This is the kind of project that, had I not worked on it myself, I would sit back and ask “How did they pull that off?” That makes me immensely proud. Even better, the Marvel fans have been incredibly encouraging on social. So after 13 months of working towards this, I truly couldn’t be happier.