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Arts & Entertainment

Make Something Out of Nothing

Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein

Lesson time 7:30 min

Early in their partnership, Jeff and Rich stretched tiny budgets to make work that captured international attention. They walk us through their ads for the Mill Valley Film Festival, the San Francisco Examiner, and Chevys Fresh Mex.

Jeff 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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- Listen, we had nothing, and it's all by the seat of your pants. It's intuitive. If it feels right, it will be right. We didn't have anything, and we're going to teach you how to do something with nothing. [MUSIC PLAYING] - Well, when we first went into business, we didn't have any money. The clients that we worked with had no money, so we basically had to make things out of nothing, OK? And probably the first thing-- first example of that was the Mill Valley Film Festival. We decided, let's do something for this Mill Valley Film Festival. We've got to do it for free. We're going to have to talk our friends into doing it with us. That's the kind of thing you have to do. We came up with this idea of the people in Mill Valley-- using real people, because we couldn't afford actors-- talking as if they knew everything about film. - Of course we had the debut of "Paris, Texas" last year, and that was very nice. - That was nice. - Very nice. - Very nice. - I guess we're all looking forward to the film noir retrospective. - Yeah, we like that deep focus. - They're bringing back that Jane Russell movie "Hot Blood." NARRATOR: Everyone played along as if this little town knew everything about cinema. - And Rich and his kids are in it very clearly. He's got a great mustache at this point. - Well, Aaron says that the recent New Zealand films are better than the French new wave. - I did not. I just said they were reminiscent. - That's stupid, Daddy. Where is their Truffaut? Where is their Godard? - Even though it's the first thing we ever did, it still today reflects us. - It's not very professional looking. We drove around in the back of a pickup truck and shot pictures, traveling shots of the town. You know, it's pretty terrible, but it hadn't been done yet at that point. - No. - People were not doing things like that. - No. - And so it really stood out. We won all kinds of awards for it immediately. - Cannes Film Festival, won a Gold Lion. I was like, what is that? Now today we would die to get one. Now you know naive works when you want to start something because you don't really know anything. - You don't know what you don't know. - And it works. The trouble comes when you overthink it. - Yeah. The trouble comes when you do get some money. You start, like, paying other people to take care of things. In this case-- - Right. - --we had to do it all ourselves. You have to think about it yourself. You make it from scratch. You figure out what the guy's going to say. You figure out what friend you're going to have in it. You figure out how you're going to cut it together in the end. We had so little money for that thing that I remember we actually got in Andy's car and drove the mag and film down to Los Angeles to have somebody edit it for free. We couldn't afford a plane. - No. - We drove in a car to go to Los Angeles to do this. ...

Create the big ideas of tomorrow

As the minds behind the “got milk?” campaign, the Budweiser lizards, and countless other ads that have permeated pop culture, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein never stop reimagining the possibilities of advertising. Now they’re sharing how they make the beautiful and edgy work that’s seen by millions. Learn how to come up with great ideas, tell funny and compelling stories, and dazzle at your next pitch or presentation.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

excellent insight and advice from truly incredible minds.

lots of practical tips on creativity and colloboration.

How to have joy and feel confident. Who would not want to work with this company. Brilliant on every level.

I learned a lot about creative thinking. I am a teacher and I want to share these ideas with my students.


Michael B.

Really appreciated the examples and insights. So curious what I can apply to the podcast advertising world!

Mike E.

Sorta reminds me of the quote by Roosevelt "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" and it really does hit home for myself and I'm sure a lot of creatives who more likely than not, don't have much but a dollar and a dream in the beginning. You have to have purpose and determination to achieve your goals just as much to pitch a concept. The real magic happens not in what you do but how you do it and repeatedly S&G have shown their ability to take a small idea and make it big using regular equipment with new stylistic moves. What a body of work to study - J.O.

Katherine E.

Loved this episode-- honest storytelling and enthusiastic. Charming and inspiring.

Bella W.

Jeff wears his sandal and Rich had his jeans on, but it turned out perfectly.


This is perfect. Shows exactly how the idea is everything. Execution can be clucky but if it's honest - it will work.

Carolyn S.

I love the way these wild & crazy guys PLAY. I was AMAZED when my recent "AD" song for Roundup Wine got selected for a prestigious film festival ... WOW. I just sent this 2:37 minute satirical wine song to a few film festivals (expecting NOTHING). I made this AD for $750. Inspire others to collaborate ... its not about the money. DO WHAT YOU CAN and have FUN doing it.