Goodby Implores Ad Executives to Embrace Change

Jeff Goodby knows a thing or two about effective online advertising. His “traditional” creative agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, was named Interactive Agency of the Year at the One Show in 2009.

Also, his house has gone viral.

Goodby used the story of his St. Helena, CA, home to illustrate his agency’s approach to advertising in the digital age on Thursday at the ANA Agency/Client Forum in New York, part of Advertising Week 2009.

After deciding this summer that he wanted to paint his house, Goodby seized the opportunity to first have some fun. He hired someone to digitally print words in large typeface across the facade. Words like “Together,” “Barefoot,” “Egg,” and “Bee” that represented memories his family had forged while living there.

When he took pictures of his home and shared them on his Facebook page, they generated 30 to 40 comments and were soon being snatched by friends and passed around.

Intrigued by all the attention, Goodby started a Web site devoted to the project, PoemHouse.org.

“Then things went crazy,” he said. “People were twittering it and googling it. Creativity had written about it and a lot of blogs had written about it.”

Before long, all the digital traffic led to “literal traffic — people were driving down my street looking left and right trying to find this thing,” he said, which did not endear him to his neighbors (or his wife).

The lesson? Do something interesting with digital technology, and you don’t have to promote it. People will seek it out.

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