Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein are the greatest creative team in advertising and the agency with their names on the door is famous for a reason. Goodby Silverstein & Partners is the agency on the hill, the agency many of us wish we worked for or had created. Jeff and Rich are also personable guys who like to share their ideas and knowledge with other people. Thus, they are the perfect pair to represent the ad industry on MasterClass. For working professionals, students, clients, and those with a weird fascination with how ads are made, this masterclass is worth your time and money.
Jeff and Rich’s MasterClass covers 18 topics in five-to-10 minute clips. Some of the topics include: Working with Brands, How to Tell a Story in 30 Seconds, Is It Funny Enough?, Bringing Humanity to the Corporate World, and New Business: The Machine at Maximum Speed.
Jeff and Rich are open books eager to discuss their origins as a company and the methods that they continue to use to grow the company and their clients’ companies. For the viewer, there is much to hear, consider, and take away. Here are a few of the highlights that I heard, considered, and am now taking with me as I pursue new clients and better work for existing clients.
Always Go the Extra Mile
Jeff tells a great story in Episode 17 about winning the BMW business. The agency’s “PR Maven, Meredith” suggested that Jeff fly down to Pebble Beach for an event that the BMW team would be attending. Because he had written articles for several leading titles, Jeff managed to wrangle a press pass for the event, which he then used to cozy up to the global head of marketing, who asked the agency to pitch the business. Jeff says, “If I can do that, and I’m the chairman of this agency, you can do that too.”
Big Ideas Do Not Sell Themselves
In Episode 11, Jeff and Rich discuss what it takes to “sell a crazy idea.” Rich says, “How you perform and present your ideas is just as important as what the script says or what the idea is.” Jeff agrees. He says, “I’m a big believer that the likeability of the people, and the clarity of the people as they present, is what they buy.” These are the two guys with more big ideas for brands than anyone and what are they’re saying can not be undervalued. They’re saying that we’re all human beings and that our humanity comes before all else.
Bad Advertising Also Works
Jeff and Rich believe in making great ads that build powerful brands. They also believe that advertising has a duty to uphold. In Episode 10, Rich says, “You have no right to go into someone’s home and not entertain them or give them something of depth.” Jeff agrees. He says, “There’s a lot of first-level drivel in this business because it works. Bad advertising can work as well as good advertising, we just choose to do good advertising.”
Make the Inside Like the Outside
“Half of our partners are women, that made a really big difference in our company,” says Jeff in Episode 18, “and our productivity went up like crazy.” Bottom line.
Forgiveness Is Grace In Action
Jeff and Rich honor and celebrate the people who come to work for them and their clients each day. During Episode 18, Jeff says something that’s truly critical. He says, “Forgiveness is important to creative work because we’re all insecure people. The thing that makes you a creative person is a certain openness about life. And openness often…You make mistakes when you’re too open. You blurt things out. You do silly things. Many times we’re dealing with people who are eccentric, and they make mistakes. You have to be able to forgive these people.” Rich adds weight to this by saying their agency is not a corporate environment. “I can’t imagine what that feels like. I can’t imagine being afraid of what to say.”