How Toby Barlow enticed Goodby to come to downtown Detroit

By David Kiley on Thu Oct 28 2010

Palm Building_Andrew When Goodby, Silverstein and Partners reports its profit-and-loss on its new Chevrolet business and it's a few bucks shy of expectations, Omnicom's financial department can blame Toby Barlow, chief creative officer on the Ford account for Team Detroit. Huh? After Goodby won the GM account last April, Jeff Goodby and his partners began looking for office space in downtown Detroit. GM's chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick told his two new agencies, Goodby and Minneapolis-based Fallon, that he wanted them in downtown Detroit, not out in the suburbs. Omnicom, meantime, is gagging on excess office space in Troy, Mich., well North of Detroit where BBDO's offices were that serviced Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chysler until last Fall. "Joel wanted us in Detroit, but so did I," said Goodby. "Detroit is a real city, and we want to be part of it, not out in the 'burbs." Omnicom loved the idea of stocking the office with well over 100 Goodby employees despite the fact that it had already sold off furnishings. Toby Barlow, who lives in the MexicanTown section of Detroit and is a big booster of downtown Detroit, drove Goodby around town on a personal guided tour—restaurants, rib joints, pubs and the historic neighborhoods. Ultimately, he led Goodby to the Francis Palms building (pictured), a historic Beaux Arts structure on Woodward Ave., across the street from Comerica Park and Ford Field and few doors down from the Fox Theater. The Fillmore Theatre is in the bottom floor of the building. By virtue of the ballparks nd the theaters, it is the most vibrant part of Detroit, which is struggling with its economy and image. The other downtown option Goodby looked at was GM's headquarters building, The Renaissance Center. Fallon took that option, occupying space held by Publicis Groupe sister agency Digitas, which has lost most of its GM business to IPG's MRM.  "Toby was great. And I'm really happy with the choice," said Goodby. "When we had Saturn [between 2002-2007], I wasn't here a lot, but I'm going to spend a lot of time in Detroit, and downtown is the place to be." Goodby has already reached out to Detroit's College of Creative Studies, a leading design school, to teach some classes, and he has ideas about working with Barlow about improving the image of the city through advertising and marketing. "We want to be part of this community," says Goodby, who says the decision to take its own space created "some tense conversations" with his parent company. Blame it on Barlow.

Dickie's makes jeans advertising even more dark and depressing

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Aug 18 2010

Selling jeans these days is a pretty grim business. Not because no one buys them, but because people apparently buy them to walk around depressed and angry. After Levis' "Go forth" campaign set the scene with black-and-white ads that looked like they were shot by Jim Jarmusch, Dickie's and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners have introduced their own feel-bad ads in black and white featuring tough guys scowling at the camera and falling down a lot. "Our faces will be stained," sneers a voiceover. "Our blood will be spilt." Jeez. That's a lot of baggage for a pair of pants. Whatever happened to "These jeans won't make your ass look too big"?

GM suggesting you fly the rocket-like 2011 Corvette to the moon

By David Kiefaber on Wed Jul 14 2010

General Motors broke this new spot for the 2011 Corvette on TV last night—the nameplate's first TV advertising in some five years. Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the ad modestly compares the vehicle to a rocket ship. One probably costs as much as the other nowadays, so at least they have that much in common. Also, GM has announced that anyone who buys a Corvette Z06 or ZR1 has the option of building their own engine for it, something GM calls the "Engine Build Experience." Autoguide pegs this offer, and the spot, as an upscaling of the Corvette brand, but I think it's just the opposite—both promotional ideas are, with varying degrees of subtlety, nostalgic nods to America's once-great manufacturing sector. If anything, they're trying to make their expensive yuppie sports car more approachable for working-class people. The Engine Build Experience also outsources some of the labor to the consumer, something that many brands love to do, but since there are plenty of gearheads around who like working on cars, it's not as manipulative as it seems. In any case, GM is definitely trying to get across that all four of Corvette's tires are firmly on the ground.

Doritos unveils Asylum 626, another pants-soiling Halloween site

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009

Jeepers! Last year, it was Hotel 626. Now, Doritos and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners are reviving their scary Halloween online experience with a new site, Asylum 626. Log on between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and you're plunked into the middle of a horror film (hint: it takes place in an asylum) with the challenge of escaping ASAP. To get your adrenaline really pumping, Frito-Lay recommends turning all the lights out, turning on your webcam and microphone and putting on your headphones. The campaign celebrates the return from the dead of two "fan-favorite flavors," Black Pepper Jack and Smoking Cheddar BBQ. An augmented-reality marker on the back of the "undead" bags gives viewers access to exclusive footage when you hold it up to the webcam. We'd try it out, but it's not 6 p.m. yet, and the BrandFreak office is scary enough with the lights on.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Just try to keep up with Goodby's latest commercial for Sprint

Posted on Fri Apr 10 2009

Sprint has pulled the plug on those ho-hum ads featuring CEO Dan Hesse and now gives us information overload: a new spot, via Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, showing the myriad of things our phones can do. (As in, aside from calling people.) For instance, according to the ad: There are 1,041,667 e-mails en route, and 7 percent of these carry the words "miracle banana diet." ("They're hitting 63,000 spam filters, now," the voiceover says, just as a woman shields herself from falling bananas with an umbrella.) And, did you know? "Two million people are sending a text message during a business meeting. Most popular subject: diapers." (Who wudda thunk?) And then, against a screen of computer-generated birds chirping, we learn that "233,000 people just Twittered on Twitter" and that "26 percent of you viewing this have no idea what that means." "Hay carumba!" as Bart Simpson would say. Now, it just remains to be seen whether such intense phone capabilities are enough to make AT&T and Verizon users switch to Sprint.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Quaker Oats now outfitting consumers with oat-fueled jetpacks

Posted on Mon Mar 9 2009


You might have seen these teaser ads on buses and taxicabs in cities around the country. It's part of a new campaign from Quaker Oats, which has kicked off a promotion to highlight all of its whole-grain oat products. (The effort began with a smoothie and hot-oatmeal giveaway this morning in Times Square.) The campaign, which kicks into high gear next week, is the first work from new lead agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which nabbed the account from Element 79 last October.
  As for the guy in the ads, he's Jetpack Man, and yes, Quaker Oats does believe that the humble little oat can fuel you through your day. (Hence, the two rocket-like oatmeal fuel canisters on his back.) After all, it's not just an oat, it's a "super grain that powers your day and helps you do amazing things," as Quaker Oats CMO Annie Young-Scrivner says. For every UPC code entered on its Web site, Quaker Oats will donate 10 products to hunger-fighting organization Share Our Strength. Which makes for one very powerful oat indeed.

—Posted by Elaine Wong



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