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Arts & Entertainment

Working With Brands

Jeff Goodby & Rich Silverstein

Lesson time 8:23 min

With Saturn and Budweiser as examples, Jeff and Rich talk through their strategies for engaging clients, including how to listen and when to challenge them. GS&P’s head of strategy, Bonnie Wan, breaks down their recent E.T. spot for Comcast.

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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[UPBEAT MUSIC] - You know, brands are very often big, inarticulate giants, and they-- even the most powerful ones. And they come here, and we have to give them a voice. You have to think about who they could be. What do people really think of them? Is there a way into people's heads that can make them care about these brands? - I think a brand is a living, breathing organism. It really is. This is the way we look at it. And it has a brain. It has heart. It has soul. A consumer could go to many brands. We think they should go to the brand that they connect with best, and we try to feed that brand with emotion and truth. So we don't start a project without thinking about, what does the brand stand for? Why do I want to buy it? And then we-- I want to see exploit it, but I don't mean in an ugly way. I mean we want to make it larger than life so we can push and pull and play with it. - It is really interesting to think about what a brand is. I think that it's kind of a collection of knowledge that we all share. And our job is to kind of take that river of knowledge and form it into something a little simpler and a little more narrow so that it's easier to remember. It's more likeable. It has a voice. It has mass. It has power to it. People have said, brands make beer tastes better. They make cars go faster. I think that's true. A great brand does that, you know? [UPBEAT MUSIC] We took over Saturn, I think, in the early 2000s. A different kind of car, a different kind of car company was their tag line. And I remember, when we were pitching the business, Rich and I were like, that's too many words. We shortened it to "It's different in a Saturn." The thing that made it different was that they cared about the people inside. They didn't care about the cars. They cared about the cars only in so far as they served the people inside. And so we wanted to make a commercial or communication that would somehow get that across. And Jamie Barrett had this idea of, what if there were no cars and you just saw the people on the street? MAN 1: It's a crazily bold idea for a car company to not show the cars. MAN 2: No cars in the commercial. And so people are walking on the street like they're cars-- MAN 1: As cars. MAN 2: --as they're cars. I remember the director teaching people how to walk like a car. - Yeah. - So they sort of do this little car waddle. Well, you saw people, like, in traffic. You saw people with flashlights like it was nighttime and they had their headlights on. You saw kids getting a ride to school in a bus, trailing behind the bus driver. - But it was all about the DNA of Saturn, which was people first. - Yeah. - And we just exploited that. - And at the end of it, it says, you know, when we make our cars, we don't see sheet metal. NARRATOR: We see the people who may one day drive them. Introducing the redesigned L, the Vue, and the all-new Ion. It's different in a Saturn. - A...

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.

I am a musician but I love to hear from other creative people. I have learned that it doesn't matter what expression Art takes, the best Art is Honest, Real, Raw, Daring, Unafraid, and in the end , tells a Story. It gives a snapshot of where we are a a person and a people.

Got invaluable insights on agency business and creativity.

I'm a design director for a large international architecture firm. The Goodby-Silverstein series reinforced the my belief in the creative process and the art of storytelling.

Holy F that was sooo good!!! I have pages and pages of ideas. This was brilliant!


Loretta C.

I absolutely LOVED this one. I don't know if I'll ever be fortunate enough to work with brands or an ad agency like this, but even as a small time freelance graphic designer this is teaching me so much about communicating with my clients. So happy I'm watching these!

Mike E.

Goodby mentioned something that I think highlights a characteristic of their advertising agency, "Make it yourself if you have to" and really the question is; when do you have to? There's a fine line between what makes a good idea great and who thinks a good idea is great, Silverstein touches on this when he says "Listen to the clients problems". The client will more likely than not have the solution to their problems in their head "if only... then it would be better". Our job is to give the client that solution in real life! Even if we have to make it ourselves sometimes — J.O.

Maria H.

Loving this and it's sparking so many new ideas for me that I'll be sharing with my company!

Vince M.

"The worst thing for a brand is to be invisible." I disagree. The worst thing is to be a 'cereal bug' where you sell more product to those who have never seen the ad especially when it is a highly memorable ad that people can't get out of their heads.

Carolyn S.

so clever ... humor is the best selling tool. Which is why I am such a fan of Michael Moore - taking difficult/painful subjects and making them funny. In my film TEXAS GOLD we used humor to tell the story of a woman fighting the giants of the petro-chemical industry in the most polluted place in America. FIGHT THE POWERS!