Word From A San Francisco Ad Man

The Wall Street Journal (paid sub. req.) asked Rich Silverstein of Goodby Silverstein + Partners some good questions on the heels of the agency’s two huge account wins (Sprint and Hyundai). Asked how he reassures a smaller client (The Commonwealth Bank of Australia) that they too are important in the wake of such wins, Mr. Silverstein said:

We had a creative team camp out at San Francisco International Airport in front of Qantas Airways. They had sleeping bags and pillows, and we said to the bank, in a video email, “They are not leaving until you call us and tell us to get on a plane and start working for you.” In one video we sent to them I personally complained “Please hire them because it’s too expensive for me to feed them airport food.” It was a way to show we care and to show them that the people that would be working on that account would not be people working on Sprint and Hyundai. … There are two things agencies have to do, respect their long-term relationships, and they have to go after new business. No client wants an agency that is a dinosaur, and you have to be relevant. To stay relevant, you have to do new work for different types of clients.

So, Goodby’s not above pulling stunts to please an account. Good to know.

Silverstein also spoke about his agency’s move to digital:

The Web is just great design that moves, and we had hired an animator and created an animation department. So with design and animation already here, our transition to the Web was a bit easier. I think I had been training for this my whole life. I love graphic design, and I love emotion. So how do you put graphic design to emotion? Simple: It’s the Web.

That’s one view of what the Web is. My own view is it’s a conduit for content sharing.
Silverstein also mentions GS+P’s pressing need to hire 150 people right now. And that it takes nine interviews to make one hire.

About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.