The Little Big Cheese

Every agency has its secret weapon. At their induction into The One Club Creative Hall of Fame last week, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein revealed theirs: a genius dwarf they’ve been hiding in the attic.

At the ceremony, held Wednesday night at The Metropolitan Club in New York, the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners co-founders presented a humorous film to thank their employees past and present for the shop’s success. The video—created with help from Goodby creatives Al Kelly, Craig Mangan, Steve Mapp and Greg Martinez—shows Jeff and Rich fruitlessly grappling with headline ideas for the California Milk Processor Board and Hewlett-Packard. Out of sight of their staff, they climb a ladder to seek advice from the sequestered dwarf. Working at a desk, with a “Think small” Volkswagen Beetle ad tacked to the wall in front of him, the pint-size wizard (played by Ricardo Gil) fixes any and all problems—coming up with the “Got milk?” and HP’s “Invent” taglines, hatching the plan to kill off the Budweiser frogs, defining the look of Norwegian Cruise Lines and concocting eBay’s sing-along dance numbers. He even stops Goodby from cutting off his ponytail.

But after reading an article about The One Club induction, the unappreciated dwarf packs up his typewriter and quits … and turns up in Lee Clow’s office at TBWA\Chiat\Day in L.A. The 1997 Hall of Fame inductee ushers the dwarf into deluxe digs—also hidden upstairs but decked out in palatial style.

Some of the creatives thought the video might be too silly and tried to talk Goodby and Silverstein out of it, Goodby says. But while he admits “some people in the room were scratching their heads, Silverstein and I loved it.”