Grey, Canon and Daredevil Nik Wallenda Seek Out the Rebel in All of Us

Guinness record-holder launches new campaign

At one time or another, we'd all like to fancy ourselves as rebels. But how rebellious are we, really?

Twenty-five years ago, Canon launched the EOS Rebel SLR camera with the help of Andre Agassi, who was then a 19-year-old spokesperson for youthful abandon and the long, wild hair that went along with it. The camera still aims to "level the playing field" by placing professional tools in the hands of passionate photographers. But for its silver anniversary, Canon looks to shine the spotlight on a very different kind of rebel: ordinary people who aspire to something a little greater.

For the first round of its new "Rebel With a Cause" campaign, Canon's longtime creative agency Grey joined forces with tightrope walker and frequent Guinness World Record-breaker Nik Wallenda, who traveled all the way to Sarasota, Florida to find some unlikely rebels and record their bucket list adventures with the help of the EOS Rebel SLR.

Before you ask: yes. Catherine and Chan did all their own stunts.

Grey creative director Stu Mair told Adweek that the agency came up with the idea without a brief and that the shoot was "not staged at all. That was part of the fun of this campaign."

"It was about finding people who never got the chance to fulfill a dream," said Mair. "It happens to the best of us." Wallenda suggested that the team look for candidates in Sarasota because he is a native son and a local legend in the area.

How does the campaign relate to the product? "In a world where Apple releases billboards and TV spots shot on an iPhone, we have to regain that territory and remind consumers what [the Canon Rebel] is capable of. Every shot was made with the Rebel…in terms of quality, it still delivers 25 years later," explained Mair.

The full campaign will be a series of six such spots, and its next chapter will document Swizz Beats' search for the next star of the art world. Mair said that the hip-hop producer is "passionate about focusing on the next great unknown artist, discovering them and giving them the world as a stage." And he's not too particular when it comes to style and/or medium.

Canon marketing specialist Melisa Yoo said the campaign aims to convey that "this is an every person camera that anyone creative can use."

"It's about capturing not just special occasions but everyday moments" like piloting a jet or driving a race car, she said. The company wants to reach young users "where they live," which means that it will run on all of Canon's social media accounts as each successive chapter rolls out.

As for Chan, Mair tells Adweek that he flew like the veteran pilot he is despite losing his lunch at one point during the shoot. "He was a professional. He pulled out the bag, let it go and got back to flying. There was a pilot in the back seat, but he was doing all those flips."

Let's hope future chapters of the campaign are just as inspiring…in a rebellious sort of way.