In a year filled with uncertainty, Goodby Silverstein & Partners found a way to stay busy, efficient and creative. While working from home, the team churned out two highly ranked Super Bowl campaigns, brought on 14 new pieces of business, notched an 88% pitch-win rate and retained all of its clients and revenue. While many agencies underwent layoffs, San Francisco-based GS&P escaped that fate by instead implementing tiered pay cuts for anyone making more than $100,000.
About the year 2020, the agency says in its entry: “It was personal.”
“The people at the top took the biggest salary cuts of all,” says Derek Robson, president and managing partner of Omnicom Group’s GS&P. “We took them earlier than everybody else and we came out of them later than everybody else. It was a clarifying moment where it felt like we were in this together.”
Salary cuts were restored after three months, once the agency started winning business due in part to its Brand Camp offering, a month-long strategic sprint open to clients and potential clients, where brands and agency leaders brainstorm together to develop quick marketing solutions. This helped GS&P secure partnerships with brands including Kraft Heinz’s Lunchables and Just Crack an Egg and add business from existing clients like Comcast.
The year, however, was marked by more than the pandemic: As protests and racial unrest swept the country, Goodby stepped in with “Not a Gun,” a campaign for the Courageous Conversation Global Foundation, an organization dedicated to elevating racial consciousness through interracial healing. Its powerful film shows the absurdity of how a candy bar in a white person’s hand can turn into a gun when in a Black person’s hand. Internally, 61% of Goodby’s new hires in 2020 were people of color, compared to 32% of new hires in 2019, bringing the agency’s overall staff to 30% POC.