What Do You Do For A Living? I Create Cultural Movements.

Scott Goodson, Founder, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of StrawberryFrog, is not content making ads. Far from it. For Goodson and his fellow amphibians, it’s all about inspiring “Cultural Movements.”

Cultural Movements is the StrawberryFrog way.
It is our process to come up with innovative strategies for our clients.
Cultural Movements is the StrawberryFrog competitive edge, our DNA. It sets the course for all the Frogs and our clients to follow. It’s what we deliver. It how our case studies are written. It’s our process to release innovation and liberate creativity. It lets us create a blueprint for change.
Cultural Movements is what we do at StrawberyFrog to maximize investments in marketing in light of all the changes happening around us, such as the fragmented media world, the radical decline of the 30 second TV spot, and the rise of the truly interactive class.

Sounds like fun. But it also sounds like a stretch. To me a cultural movement involves risk taking, collective effort on a massive scale, intelligence and guts. And it means you’re moving the culture forward to a better place. I’m not sure a brand can move the culture forward.
Of course, I’m focusing on the word “Movement” here–Civil Rights Movement, Womens’ Movement and the Labor Movement. Perhaps, Goodson is thinking of Cultural Movements differently. Maybe it’s pop culture movements he’s hoping to spur. It probably depends on the brand he’s supporting.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. fortyver says:

    This makes me sad. It’s not art. It’s not revolutionary. It’s sales, pure and simple. Real and lasting cultural movements are organic, not manufactured. That having been said, Arrgh!!!

  2. They made a cultural movement?

  3. thanks Adpulp for raising this point. It is valid. The way we think about marketing is about authentic, relevant consumer experience. Cultural Movements demands that you understand an idea on the rise in culture and connect to it..like putting a surf board on a giant swell.
    In a truly interactive world, such as on this extraordinary media space here, people sharing similar interests or values are drawn together to share, debate, relate, opine, whatever…
    Cultural Movements is all about creating a more relevant, more authentic brand experience vs making it up which is the old advertising ‘spam’ way
    When you have a Cultural Movement you can do so many things. You can bridge a pretty fragmented media world. And I think best of all, you can solicit user generated content, ideas, inputs, to build the movement forward. Think of it as the science of marketing meets classic grass roots movements. An excellent case in point is the Obama campaign which is an excellent example of a Cultural Movement…and I’m not just saying that because our CSO has been donating her all to this candidate!

  4. Drew Breunig says:

    I think there’s a difference between participatory campaigns and “Cultural Movements.” I agree that recognizing and tapping into cultural movements (note the lower-case) is a powerful tool for any agency’s bag of tricks. As both a cultural anthropologist and a planner I work with such techniques on a daily basis. However, starting these movements on the backs of brands is dangerous in more than one way.
    First, it almost never succeeds. Brands like Red Bull, Pabst, Apple, and Google either started as participants in the cultures they participate within or became tied to it by the decision of the individuals within the culture, based on the products being sold. Red Bull really does help you stay out all night and party. Pabst really is working class authentic cause it’s cheap as shit. Apple makes flawless products with incredible focus. Sure, marketing helped, but most “cultural” brands start at the product and company level, not at the brand.
    My favorite example is Timbuktu. The San Francisco bag maker became part of the city’s cultural fabric not by being an authentic brand, but rather just by being a local company. They were made up of individuals that participated with the local community as a whole. Locals went to bat for them. The marketing had nothing to do with it. In fact, this example even highlights what brands need to do: brands must stand in for personal, authentic interaction when such interactions are nearly impossible! Multinational corps can’t work within communities like a small company can, hence they need brands.
    Second, I feel that cultural movements seeded by brands are dangerous because they risk cheapening the real change such movements work to bring about. What if the green trends we see right now were started by BP at it’s outset. What if BP became synonymous with Green the way Pabst is synonymous with hipsters? If BP fucked up in any way the entirety of the movement would be at risk. Branding social movements one respects is irresponsible. It’s not bad to support them or become involved, but to make them indistinguishable and at the forefront is wrong.
    The Obama campaign is a loaded example to pull. Obama’s efforts are a political movement based on democracy and voices, not an increase to a corporation’s bottom line.
    I’d love to continue the debate here or elsewhere. Always a welcome conversation (and an important one!)
    -Drew Breunig

  5. I’m with Drew on this one all the way. Campaigns are fundamentally different than movements. I’ve written about it here: http://brainsonfire.com/blog/2008/03/14/campaigns-vs-movements-revisited/
    And when you go to the Strawberry Frog landing page, you are presented with a list of “Campaigns.”
    Campaigns have a beginning and an end. Movements are powered by the people and go on for as long as the people want it to. I’m sorry but companies built on media placement revenues aren’t wired to create movements.
    Besides, we’ve been saying that Brains on Fire creates sustainable movements for a LONG time now. And we have the proof to back it up. (Guess what? It doesn’t include ads.)

  6. fortyver says:

    Drew- Thank you for so beautifully articulating my thoughts. I would have babbled and made an ass of myself, therefore negating my entire argument.
    Seriously, this is a great conversation and it needs to happen. There is no reason that the consumer can’t have a lasting relationship with a brand. It is actually quite easy, be yourself. Don’t try to be authentic. If you are not already deemed authentic, nothing can change that..

  7. unless scott can provide one, just one, instance of a cultural movement as defined by himself as the strawberryfrog way (…”To me a cultural movement involves risk taking, collective effort on a massive scale, intelligence and guts. And it means you’re moving the culture forward to a better place. I’m not sure a brand can move the culture forward.”), i am inclined to agree with everyone else that scott is full of shit.