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Business

5 Advertising Tips From Goodby & Silverstein

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Mar 25, 2020 • 4 min read

Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein are masters in the craft of advertising. Not only have the pair created their fair share of Super Bowl ads, but they’re also behind some of the biggest brand awareness campaigns—like the Budweiser lizards and the “got milk?” ads for the California Milk Processors Board. Their agency, GS&P, has a client list that includes Doritos, Pepsi, Cheetos, BMW, Xfinity, the NBA, and Nike. Jeff and Rich were named Adweek’s “Executives of the Decade” and GS&P was recognized as “Agency of the Year” numerous times by multiple publications.

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Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein Teach Advertising and CreativityJeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein Teach Advertising and Creativity

Advertising icons Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein teach you how to break rules, change minds, and create the best work of your life.

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5 Characteristics of a Good Advertisement

  1. Creates a sense of urgency. Case studies have shown that some of the most effective types of ads and marketing campaigns are ones that create urgency by encouraging customers to buy right now. Limited-time offer promos are so popular because they convince consumers that waiting to purchase will cause them to miss out on the best deal.
  2. Contains a call to action (CTA). Ad campaigns contain a CTA in order to persuade people to do a task, e.g. click-through to your website, order your product, or subscribe to your mailing list. A CTA should include contact information like a phone number or website so potential customers know how to follow through. Ecommerce business owners can even measure how successful their landing page’s CTA is by using services like Google AdWords to analyze their real-time conversion rates.
  3. Has alluring visuals. Whether you’re looking at video ads, online ads, or magazine ads, the visual images are always the first thing that grabs your attention. Eye-catching visuals are an essential ad design element when it comes to increasing consumer engagement, especially in online advertising. Design tools like vibrant color schemes and easy to read typography can be used to make your visuals stand out more. The best ads also only have one visual focal point, with a potential exception being newspaper print ads that contain multiple products in one ad.
  4. Includes customer testimonials. A large portion of consumers rely on reviews or peer input when purchasing new products or services for the first time. This is why one of the most successful ad formats, especially in TV ads, is the testimonial. Testimonials are an effective advertising technique because when potential new customers see others who are happy with their purchase, it provides them with a sense of trust in the company.
  5. Hits the target audience. The ad targeting process begins with market research to help you understand your audience. This research provides valuable audience insights like the optimal age group, income, gender, interests, or social media platforms used by the target audience. The copywriting in your ad should make sure to appeal directly to these custom audiences by using their own vernacular language. In the fields of digital marketing and social media marketing, copywriters must also be knowledgeable in search engine optimization (SEO) techniques so that their online ad text is as effective as possible.

5 Advertising Tips From Goodby & Silverstein

The ways in which Jeff and Rich absorb and assess the world give them a unique perspective when it comes to their work. To get some insight into their extraordinary process, here are some of their tips for success in the advertising industry:

  1. Look for inspiration everywhere. Sure, ideas for creative ads can come from your clients or coworkers, but you need to always be on what Jeff and Rich call “the listening side” of life, meaning you actively look for inspiration in any and all scenarios. For instance, Jeff mentions the genesis of the NBA’s “I Love This Game” campaign; a member of his team overheard a fan say the line in real-time during a basketball game. Sometimes simple statements can be the genesis of a huge idea.
  2. Have a film school mentality. When you’ve got a lot of ideas but not a lot of money to make those ideas a reality, you’ve got to come up with creative solutions. Whether you’re in art school, or film school, you may have to rely on your friends to help you make the things you want to make when you’re just starting out. With Jeff, for example, it took guts and a certain level of creative naiveté for him to create a false autobiography and present it as a resume. Even if you’re just starting to create your first ads for some small local businesses, you might as well shoot for the moon—because why not?
  3. When in doubt, be funny. Jeff and Rich are fans of funny commercials. Why? Because most things in life are not funny—war, disease, paying your bills. When you think of it like that, 30 seconds of funny can go a long way toward putting someone in a convivial (aka buyer-friendly) mood. So as long as comedy fits into your client’s marketing strategy, brainstorm ways to make your tagline or ad copy funnier in order to grab the public’s. Funny or satirical spots are almost always the best way to stand out and land yourself in pop culture’s advertising hall of fame.
  4. Go big or go home. Especially when seeking new business for your ad agency, it’s important to show that you’re so crazy and creative that your approach will be unlike anything else another agency could offer. For example, when Jeff and Rich pitched to Sega, they brought their whole agency along to show that every single one of their employees was an expert at one of the games in Sega’s portfolio.
  5. Run toward the fire. Disruption and chaos are exciting, which is why Jeff and Rich encourage new thinking, experimentation, and, most importantly, emotional reactions. If you explore the things that most people are too afraid to explore, you’re going to find insights and ideas that could be both novel and transformative. Don’t be boring. Be dangerous.
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