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Arts & Entertainment

On Craft: Writing, Design, and Giving Direction

Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein

Lesson time 9:59 min

Jeff and Rich discuss their approach to the three disciplines most critical to success in the ad world: writing, design, and creative direction.

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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[MUSIC PLAYING] - One thing that makes a great copywriter is to actually study the language. I know a lot of people think that it's cool to write in slang and vernacular, and sometimes it is, you know? I mean, I get a lot of trouble for having written "Got milk?" and some people think that it's not grammatically correct. It is, but people think it's not. Nevertheless, we have proofreaders here, and all the time the proofreaders are up in arms about copywriters not listening to them. You know, they give them some advice about how the language should work-- a better word, a better way to construct this sentence. And way too often the writers just blow it off. Learn about the language. If you're going to take a liberty with the language, you have to have a reason to do it. Read widely. Read everything. I read this thing recently that said that Joseph Stalin could read 500 pages in a day. Look, if he can do that, you know, you can read a lot too, you know, because you're a better person than he is. So I mean, think about that. Read a lot of stuff because that is the raw material of what you're doing, and it teaches you about the people you'll be speaking to, you know, that you'll have to write to. I think the other thing about writing is to just not to have a style. I think a lot of people are like, well, that's my style. I always do that. I always write like I'm stoned. That's not a style. You know, that's like something you do. You do it once. Then you do something else. You know, great writers can do a lot of different things. So study that. You know, come up with different ways that you write. Right funny ways. Write serious ways. Write beautiful ways. You know, you don't have to be the poet all the time. You can be the idiot, and then you can be the poet. Do all of that. Learn how to do all of it. [MUSIC PLAYING] - Wow. How do you make yourself a better designer? Wow. Well, the first thing you have to do is to observe what's going on in the world-- to look at the past, look at the present, and look at where people are going in the future. You just have to open your eyes. I would look at cars, architecture, you know, electronic products, clothing. Like, design is everything. And, you know, I'm not-- no, I guess I'm pretty crazy about it. I'm sorry. I just realized I am. Where you sit in your room is important. It's amazing how many people don't think their environment is important to who they are. If you're going to be a designer, your environment is your design. When I was a kid, I would go to record stores and look at all the albums. The art was amazing. And find avenues where great design is happening and soak it up, and do not sit in your-- in your home and look at the computer. Go find it. Touch it. Be curious. I think that's a good word for this. It's like, oh, how did that happen? Oh, what's going on over there? Oh, I'm going to look at how that building is being built. You know, look at that clo...

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 class. After going through this I see that my ideas are not as crazy as I thought, not even close. So among other things I did come to see that I need to go upper case BOLD. Fantastic class.

Old lady watching, learning about something different, and enjoying more of her time in quarantine.

It help me expand my mind about about opening an agency!

This has been so inspirational and an awesome trove of nuggets of guidance I can apply in my own life. I love it! I wish there were actual exercises or tasks that were given just to prompt the creative juices to flow and practice! (As well as getting real life exposure obviously ;))



Hm, honestly, I did not learn much in this masterclas. He tells me to read a lot, to be curious. Well well, so many general ideas and tipps. Missing the specific stuff, like talking more about the 30 seconds board and iphone videos. The whole masterclass feels like they sat down and talked an afternoon about themselves and their fame and their famous commercials.

Stuart G.

I like it constructive criticism, if the Creative Director is wrong he's wrong, I agree. I wish my Creative Director was like that.

Stuart G.

Very interesting, I like when their talking about the Creative Director and how you touch on one of their designs (as the General Manager) that your not all that happy with. It's an ongoing process, how true is that.

Mike E.

Something I like to practice in my spare time, reading and writing! Goodby says to read widely and write in many styles/formats and I couldn't agree more. The only reason I have any imagination at all is because I read so much fiction and I'm only decent at writing an essay because I've studied dense material. But I really enjoy when Silverstein says, "Find avenues where great design is happening.. and go touch it!". Personally, I could practice this a little more because I can study design all day behind a computer, but there's something magical about getting tactile with objects and feeling them in your space -J.O.

Mark D.

This sucked. It's just a couple of guys talking. Pretty much all of these lessons are people sitting around talking without anyone producing anything. It's a bunch of telling and not showing. I thought I was going to actually see these "Masters" go through a process and by the end of the process, there would be an actual product produced. Or a sample project we could do together. I don't want to hear about all the great ads they've done, all their awards, or them patting themselves on the back, etc...This is not a class, these are conversations.

Amanda R.

Fantastic lesson. Working for a publisher, and not for a creative agency, these lessons give me so much inspiration to use with my team.