Jeff Goodby: Buy my 'brilliant f***ing idea'

Jeff Goodby: Buy my 'brilliant f***ing idea'

“There isn’t a lot of trust in the advertising world today,” according to ad guru Jeff Goodby, who believes shorter relationships and inexperienced marketers are hurting client-agency relationships.

The co-chairman and partner at Goodby Silverstein & Partners said it is not easy for creative agencies to earn their clients’ trust in today’s world.

“They tend to be very inexperienced marketing officers here. Very often they are not people who can trust other people,” Goodby said via Skype at the Siren Awards in Melbourne this morning.

“Or they are people who will trust other people only in so far as you create something for them and then they look to the boss and see whether he or she likes it. If the boss likes it then they take credit, if the boss doesn’t like it you get the credit for it.”

Goodby said that “happens a lot”, especially in the technology industry and Silicon Valley.

“There is something to be said about longer relationships and there isn’t a lot of trust in the advertising world today because there is just so much stuff to do.”

Goodby is known for pushing many great ideas across the line, including the famous ‘Got Milk?’ work.

At the Siren Awards breakfast celebration this morning he gave an abridged version of his “Why aren’t they buying my brilliant fucking idea?” speech he made at Cannes Lions in 2012.

This morning, he said the key to pushing ideas that seem strange across the line is to look at the pitch as if you are the client and work out what their objections are likely to be.

Passion is important but passion without understanding does not work, he argued.

Below are some of his tactics for pushing through interesting ideas.



“Often times we get shot down by clients and we throw things away that we oughtn’t to throw away,” Goodby said.

Instead, be brave and try again.

This is what the agency did with Budweiser’s ‘Born a Donkey’ Super Bowl ad (below).

The first time they presented the ad to the client they “got laughed out of the room”. The following year they still “thought it was such a stupid idea”. But another year later the client bought it.

“You have to be aware and sensitive to what you look like coming back with it again and again,” Goodby said, adding that a sense of humour helps.


Have the boss there

“Something that has not been selling very well with the rank and file suddenly appeals to the guy above them and, as you know when it appeals to the guy above them, people have a way of suddenly liking it a lot.”

That was the case with another Budweiser campaign (below). The agency heard the marketing department were going to kill the idea because they did not believe it had any longevity.

They came up with a new twist for the work and presented it again. This time the boss was in the meeting: “Luckily when we read these things he went ‘that’s hilarious’…and it was done. And it was done for years.”

What was about to be killed turned into more than 150 different ads.


You are not a business, you are a movement

Aligning work with a social movement is another tactic that paid off for Goodby.

“When we worked with Nike’s skateboarding clothing line we cast around and found that people thought Nike was just a big faceless company.”

Skateboarders especially did not want to be aligned with Nike.

“We did some research and found out that if Nike championed the idea that skateboarders were athletes and deserved to have a place to play just like everybody else then it would be very popular.”

The result is below:


Buy this ad or we will shoot this dog

Goodby said it is a way of selling something to a client if there is no time and they have no time to over think it. When time is not on your side ramp up the passion and promise to deliver.

This was it what he did with the ‘Bosses’ Super Bowl ad for Hyundai (below). The spot was created in just four days.


See a need

Often what the client really needs done is not on the official brief.

“As we know, advertising has turned into a world where many times the best work has come not on an official brief. There is a need to sell up, to find things you can do for clients that they don’t even know they need.”

In 2010 General Motors had just emerged from bankruptcy in America and executives did not want to do any advertising.

The agency could not convince them that they should say something publicly, so they went away and created the ad below.

When the CEO saw the spot which simply showed a serious of failures and comebacks – some comical, others serious – he jumped on board.

The ad went live on Thanksgiving, just 16 months after emerging from bankruptcy reorganisation.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Marc Collister: AI & Automation Set To Revolutionise Creativity In 2024
  • Opinion

Marc Collister: AI & Automation Set To Revolutionise Creativity In 2024

Marc Collister (pictured) of P2 Content Creators spills the beans on his 2024 predictions drawing from two decades of experience in the advertising, film and television industry. I’m certain it will come as no surprise that in 2024, we can expect our industry to move at breakneck speed again. With even more rapid shifts in […]


by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Reddit Recap Reveals That Aussies Went Nuts For The Tillies, Eurovision And, Erm, Finance
  • Technology

Reddit Recap Reveals That Aussies Went Nuts For The Tillies, Eurovision And, Erm, Finance

Reddit’s annual Recap report has revealed the issues and moments that captured Australia’s collective mind over 2023 with, naturally, the Matildas featuring high on the list. The inaugural Australia-hosted Women’s World Cup saw Aussies glued to the footy (or, indeed soccer) with one enterprising user capturing the moment that Cortnee Vine scored the winner against […]

Zeno Group Australia Bolsters Client Offerings With An Expanded Creative Services Portfolio & New Senior Leader
  • Marketing

Zeno Group Australia Bolsters Client Offerings With An Expanded Creative Services Portfolio & New Senior Leader

Zeno Australia has announced expanded creative design capabilities and the appointment of Jim Michell (lead image) to its senior leadership team. The new moves support strong growth in the region. Zeno Australia’s clients, including Abano Healthcare, Motorola and Yorkshire Tea, can now tap into a suite of creative design services to augment the agency’s work […]

Spikes Asia Announces Its 2024 Jury Line-Up
  • Marketing

Spikes Asia Announces Its 2024 Jury Line-Up

Spikes Asia, APAC’s most prestigious and sought-after Award for creativity and marketing effectiveness, has revealed its 2024 Jury line-up today. The 93 industry experts from across 18 markets represent APAC’s leading talent from a diverse range of disciplines. 2024 sees the highest representation from brands, including Budweiser, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and, for the first […]

Assembled Media Inks TikTok Creator Campaign for BIC
  • Campaigns

Assembled Media Inks TikTok Creator Campaign for BIC

Assembled Media, is drawing upon the creative power of TikTok Creator Marketplace to help generate unique, impactful content for iconic stationery brand, BIC. The social activation campaign titled ‘A Pen for Every Side of You’ promotes the flexibility of BIC’s 4 Colours pen and is active nationwide on the BIC Stationery TikTok account. The campaign […]

Big data and analytics visualization technology with scientist analyzing information structure on screen with machine learning to extract predictions for business, finance, internet of things
  • Media

IAB Launches Fourth Module In Its Marketing Measurement Innovation Series

IAB Australia has launched ‘Evolution in Market Mix Modelling’, the fourth module in its Marketing Measurement Innovation Series, which has been developed by IAB Australia’s Ad Effectiveness Council. The module explores what is driving the increased use of MMM and how the technique is evolving with advances in computing power and machine learning to provide […]

Aerial view of a coal fired power station with large cooling towers emitting co2 into the atmosphere. With its lights already turned on the power station is illuminated in moody twilight.
  • Media

Scope3 Expands Carbon Measurement Capabilities To Include DOOH Advertising

Scope3, the collaborative sustainability platform leading the decarbonisation of media and advertising,  announced the addition of digital out-of-home (DOOH) to its emissions measurement. With DOOH ad spending predicted to grow from $17B in 2023 to nearly $24B by 2028, measuring this channel brings us one step closer to understanding the total impact of digital advertising […]

January 14, 2023 - New York, New York, USA: 2023 NRF Big Show press conference with Composition 2024 NRF Singapore.    Photo by Ian Wagreich / © Ian Wagreich Photography
  • Marketing

Now Open For Registration – NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific

NRF 2024: Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific, is now open for online registrations for the main conference. Jointly organized by the National Retail Federation and Comexposium, Retail’s Big Show Asia Pacific will take place from 11 – 13 June, 2024 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore and is expected to draw thousands […]

DBC2 Appoints Jason Fisher To Newly Created Role Of CEO
  • Marketing

DBC2 Appoints Jason Fisher To Newly Created Role Of CEO

Following a period of significant client growth, leading auto marketing agency, DBC2 has appointed Jason Fisher (lead image) to the newly created role of CEO. The appointment is part of DBC2’s long term growth strategy ahead of the agency announcing a brand refresh and expanded proposition in early-2024. As a new shareholder of the business, […]

Three New Hires At Amplify
  • Marketing

Three New Hires At Amplify

Extra pressure on Amplify's Nescafé Blend 43 catering tin today with the arrival of three new recruits.

Boomtown’s Final Masterclass Of 2023 Attended By Almost 100 Media Reps
  • Media

Boomtown’s Final Masterclass Of 2023 Attended By Almost 100 Media Reps

Don’t treat regional media as a charity, but a real growth opportunity: That’s the message from Boomtown’s final masterclass of 2023, attended by almost 100 media industry representatives from across the nation. The masterclass was part of a series of educational sessions, delivered by Boomtown, the media collective championing advertising in regional Australia. The sessions […]