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Two weeks into 2007—after receiving scads of year-end accolades—Goodby lost
Saturn, "the biggest account we'd ever lost," as creative director Steve Simpson
puts it. Still, a year later, the agency has come out well ahead with $2 billion in
new business wins that brought in clients like Sprint, Hyundai, and the NBA.
The success is, in no small part, due to the agency's success in adapting to the
digital world, perhaps better than any shop founded before "integration" became
an industry mantra. How did they do it? "We never created funky departments
or funky separate companies with these dangerous sounding names," says
Simpson, who believes a creative who doesn't do new media is as absurd as one
who doesn't do radio. "Everything has to stay in the creative department and
everybody has to learn the skills." And skills seem to be in no short supply at the
agency, judging from its clever "Get the Glass" online game—which took the
long-running "Got Milk" campaign onto the web—or the brilliantly meta
Rolling Rock effort, in which the company's marketing manager appears on TV
to apologize for ads that consumers can only view online. Not to mention massive
cross-platform efforts for Sprint, Hyundai, and longtime client HP. "You
have to not only say it, you have to live it at the top and it's important that the
leadership really does embrace this model—and that's been the key to our success,"
McGinness, on how new media has changed advertising: "I think the innovation
that comes inherently with new media has revitalized advertising. There's more
of an innovative spirit that's pervasive throughout the whole industry now—and
it's not just innovation with technology. It's innovation with media and new
ways to communicate. I think preople are thinking in a much broader way about
all the different ways to reach the consumer."