Thursday, October 28, 2010

Advice from Rich Silverstein of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

Rich Silverstein — I took a camera pic today but it was fuzzy.
Wow, guys. I’d been planning to jump back into the blogging thing next week. But, when I heard that Rich Silverstein of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners was going to speak on campus, I knew I had to post.

His talk totally invigorated me — just what I needed mid-semester. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners does amazing work, and we even got to see a few yet-to-be-aired commercials. (Let’s just say there’s some awesome stuff in the pipeline.)

He was speaking to the Technology Marketing and Advertising class (which the professor graciously allowed other students to crash), but the conversation wasn’t super tech heavy. Rich said a few times that he didn’t think about technology except as a tool to further storytelling.

Connecting people and telling stories are the two things that tie together all the careers I’ve wanted or had (acting, journalism, advertising), so it was really cool to hear him mention those ideas over and over. Other frequently repeated themes included honesty and simplicity.

“Find a way to make something brutally simple that’s brilliant,” he said.

The quotes

He was highly quotable, and I’m sure you’d rather read his words than mine, so here are a few snippets:
  • “Do not talk down to consumers… Everyone is smarter than you think they are.”
  •  “No one’s going to give you a free ticket in advertising. You’ve just got to work your brains out.” 
  • “Sometimes a cool product is killed by advertising. You have to be honest and truthful.”
  • “Put a dog in your commercial, put a baby in your commercial, and you win.” ;) 
  • “It’s not easy to sell any of this to clients.”
  • “Passion is very important… You’re lucky — you’ll be in an industry that has a lot of energy.”
  • “Everything is a mistake waiting to happen. Nothing is perfect. You just have to go with it.”
  • “Middle management destroys creativity.”

More advice

For creative directors and other managers: 
“Be fair, honest and direct… A good creative director is the boy who sees that the emperor is naked."

For creative job applicants:
  • “If you’re not a student of pop culture, you shouldn’t be in advertising.”
  • Your book is what matters, and it should show thinking plus craft.
  • He and Jeff Goodby look for books with one great thing that makes them jealous.
  • You have to have a point of view.
  • And for copywriters “Writing is a lost art… Try to string some words together.”
  • When asked about it, he cautioned against filling your book with gorilla work: “Clients love it and never buy it.”

And, finally, the work

Got Milk? — Aaron Burr
(He rightfully called the milk mustaches campaign a bastardization of this idea.)

NBA Finals — There Can Only Be One

Comcast High Speed Data with Powerboost — Rabbit

Doritos Hotel 626

Sprint Now Network

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