Goodby Charts ‘Digital Evolution’

LOS ANGELES Derek Robson and Steve Simpson described the “Digital Evolution” of Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners into a modern, fully integrated agency here today at Adweek‘s Creative Conference: Mashup 2007 here today.

Robson, managing partner at the San Francisco agency, said the shop was prompted to alter its way of doing business after gathering internal and external perceptions. He said that while the agency was seen as having the best reel, presenting excellent consumer insights, making good hires and offering solid strategic planning, it “didn’t even appear” in the areas of branded entertainment, integrated campaigns or as being known for media neutrality.

Reevaluating the shop in those terms, Robson said that in May 2005 the agency had only 18 percent of its creative talent dedicated to nontraditional media. A year later, Goodby had beefed up nontraditional to 42 percent of creative personnel. Not until last October, Robson said, did the ratio reach 50/50. Now 65 percent of the creative hires at Goodby can work on any aspect of a campaign, across disciplines, he said.

Internally, Robson said, Goodby was diagnosed as having “Crispin envy” (referring to MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky) and was suffering “a lack of clearly defined identity.”

Simpson, partner and cd, said the changeover to integrated campaigns using multi-talented creatives “has been a renewal for a lot of us. It has been challenging, but more interesting.” He pointed out that Goodby has successfully used new media for quite some time, including one of the first interactive banner ads for a Pong-like game for HP.

Simpson demonstrated how the changes in creative hiring led them to consider people from fields including academic environments, media labs and design firms. A resume film by Pete Connolly, Simpson said, led to the development of “The computer is personal” campaign in which a headless upper torso and hands tells the story.

Simpson showed the latest HP spot starring Jerry Seinfeld, in which the comedian conjures up computer-generated imagery representing his various passions, including a fantastic baseball gadget and “receiving” a call from DreamWorks SKG, asking him to put in two plugs for Bee Movie. The 30-second spot premieres later in the week, Simpson said.

Turning to the agency’s work for the California Milk Processor Board (“Got milk?”), Simpson showed how recent films featuring the fictitious Adachi family reinstated the health-benefits message while “getting 2 million people to visit a site about milk.”

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