THE MARKETING 100; JIM HANCOCK;NO FEAR

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Jim Hancock has an attitude.

As marketing director of apparel company No Fear, Mr. Hancock has steered it into niche advertising designed to convey the brand's image as "attitude wear."

Using focused print ads and a small in-house creative team, No Fear ran more than 250 print ads in sports and leisure magazines covering auto racing to rock climbing.

"We opted not to go with magazines that had the biggest circulation but those that had the most influence," says Mr. Hancock, 35. "We wanted to use our advertising to create a culture, a feeling, that can be accessed in these magazines that speak to a myriad of cultures that have as a common emotional link the `No Fear' attitude."

And what is the `No Fear' attitude?

"We're [No Fear] about the state of mind. We're about the mental process. We're about taking on the challenge and fear that's in every and any kind of task and overcoming," Mr. Hancock says.

Founded by twins Brian and Mark Simo, No Fearhas shot to $200 million in sales in less than five years on the strength of its stylish logo, consumer word-of-mouth, the endorsement of some 200 athletes and, laced through it all, that attitude.

"No Fear" is now so popular it has lost some of its niche and now appeals to a wide audience; wide enough, in fact, that No Fear branched into TV advertising for the first time this year, on the Super Bowl and the Indianapolis 500.

The media strategy is to tie one TV execution to a high-profile event, like the Super Bowl, and then retire the spot. Sounds like niche ads, with an attitude.

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