Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Closes Its New York Office

Collapse of Comcast-Time Warner merger was turning point for agency

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San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has closed its New York office after just over two and a half years in operation, agency founder Jeff Goodby told Adweek today.

Earlier this year, Goodby sent out a memo to employees about how client Comcast's failed merger with Time Warner would require layoffs for GS&P. However, at the time, he seemed optimistic about the New York office's future.

"Our New York office, which will now be smaller, is an amazing beacon of freshness and light. Their wins of the New York Post and StreetEasy, and the Emily's Oz project for Comcast are all widely celebrated pieces of work," Goodby wrote in the May memo. "We're sure the office will leap forward."

The union of the two communications powerhouses would have created America's largest Internet/entertainment company, but it fell through after Washington regulators made clear that they would fight to block it.

Goodby explained the situation in the internal memo, writing that "Comcast wanted [advertising] work to explain this merger" but had to cancel planned campaigns. Today, Goodby told Adweek that his agency had hoped to grow the Comcast account into something much bigger, but prospects for the New York office dimmed after the proposed merger fell through.

"When that didn't happen, a lot of the funding for the office didn't make sense," Goodby said.

Goodby told Adweek the office employed close to 20 people at its height of operations and that eight people were working there when it closed this month. All are no longer GS&P employees, though Goodby said he would not be surprised "if we worked with many of them unofficially in the future, or even officially at some point."

The office won three new accounts that it ran independently: ZocDoc, the New York Post and real-estate listings company StreetEasy. These accounts technically remain with GS&P for now, but all three will most likely seek New York-based agencies to handle their accounts following Goodby's announcement.

"The office did really good work that we're really proud of," Goodby said. "Ironically, some of the best stuff was for Comcast, including the 'Emily's Oz' spot."

That campaign, which launched in February, won a bronze Lion in the Titanium and Integrated category at Cannes. It was also shortlisted in the Film Lions category (for Commercial Public Services, Production Design/Art Direction, Script and Direction).

GS&P New York executive creative director Paul Caiozzo and managing partner Nancy Reyes said in a statement: "We feel honored to have gotten the chance to spend the last year surrounded by some of the most spectacular co-workers and clients. We set out on a simple mission to make better advertising. Thanks to our clients' bravery, intelligence and partnership we were able to do that. A tremendous thank you to Comcast, The New York Post, StreetEasy and ZocDoc."

Goodby speculated that Caiozzo might continue to work on some of those clients on a freelance basis. Asked about that, Caiozzo said, "I would be humbled at the opportunity to continue working with any one of our clients. I would defer to them for any comments about the future of our working relationships."

Last month, multiple sources told AgencySpy that the New York office would be closing after the 2015 Cannes Lions, but both Goodby and Caiozzo contradicted that claim. At the time, Goodby said that he'd caught wind of related rumors but that his agency had no plans to shutter its New York operations, while Caiozzo told AgencySpy that the Manhattan-based team would "now be smaller" but would continue to work with clients.

With today's closure announcement, though, GS&P says it will retain its status as Comcast's creative agency of record.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.