The Future and Success of Advertising Relies on Vandalism

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Jeff Goodby, co-chairman & partner of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, has always been a vandal. When he was younger he would vandalize neighbors’ houses with eggs and enjoyed going back to the scene of the crime the next day.

“You knew that the next day you would walk by it, and see what you did, and that’s what great advertising is like. It’s still there the next day, it’s shocking, it’s unforgettable,” said Goodby.

Goodby took the stage to discuss the topic, “How Vandalism Will Save Advertising” and how “naughty” — or unforgettable and creative — advertisements can change the way people interact with the ad world.

According to Goodby, the world of advertising is in trouble. Seventy percent of people working in advertisement are actively seeking a new job. Goodby attributes this to the lack of excitement people have for creating a project that is exciting and different.

His full-service advertising agency in San Francisco, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners was formed in 1983 and has always strived to produce shocking, memorable and interesting advertisements and campaigns. Goodby applies the mentality that no one covers planes that take off safely to his work and recommends others do the same.

Goodby talked about many of his different campaigns during the seminar and the success and even backlash and that were associated with some of them. He first reflected on one of his earlier campaigns —Got Milk? The company decided to set up scent strips at bus stops that smelled of chocolate chip cookies. While passengers would wait, they would smell the scent — making them hungry for a cookie. Then, a bus would stop and on the side of it, a Got Milk? advertisement would be featured. The strips had to be taken down to account for homeless people and how this could make them hungry, but this, in turn, caused more buzz about the ad.

Another project was two different campaigns with Cheetos. First, Goodby’s company digitized photos with Cheetos, creating the app, Cheeto Vision, that turned the whole world into Cheetos. The second was the Cheetos Museum; it featured real Cheetos that people found in Cheetos bags that looked like things in the world. This caused a spike in Cheetos sales, and over 127,000 Cheetos were submitted. By tasking America to find the most unique shapes, Cheetos bags flew off the shelves, and the campaign was a huge success.

Even with every great campaign, Goodby reminded the audience that some content can be risky and not viewed as favorable for all audiences. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners had the idea to create a Doritos bag — Doritos Rainbows — full of colorful chips to celebrate LGBTQ pride and raise money for the It Gets Better project. Some, of course, loved it, while others sent threatening messages to the advertisement agency. However, the launch of the campaign did what it was supposed to — get people talking.

Goodby and his company’s advertisements exemplify that if an advertisement pushes some boundaries, is a little crazy and perhaps naughty, it stands to become a huge success and something consumers will remember long after it is gone.

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