Autodesk turns 404 Error codes into optimistic messages about the future in New York Times campaign

‘Make Anything’ shows how STEM professionals are using technology and creativity to improve the world

Published On
Apr 10, 2024
Autodesk glitch banner

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Too often in the news, it’s easy to focus on the things going wrong: wars, mental health crises, inflation, hunger and more. 

But Autodesk’s new digital campaign in The New York Times aims to flip pessimism on its head and offer a vision of optimism on behalf of those who are building the future. 

Launched on Wednesday (April 10), “Make Anything,” created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, features banner ads resembling 404 error codes from a broken link or website on the Times’ digital home page and in the Tech, Business, Opinion and Science sections on the mobile app.

The ads say the words, “It appears the link to our future is broken,” with an invitation to click on the ad to see how problem solvers around the world are fixing it. Users are then redirected to case studies of how Autodesk users—architects, engineers and other technology professionals—are working to improve the world. 


A landing page includes stories of professionals tackling global issues such as the housing crisis, saving coral reefs, STEM education and more. Short video vignettes show how Autodesk has helped them create technological advancements to address these issues.

The campaign aims to offer a solution to a world full of problems, Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer at Autodesk, told Ad Age. 

“With creativity and technology, the problems that we’re facing in the world can be solved,” she said, adding that Autodesk’s annual State of Design & Make Report shows optimism is on the rise, despite geopolitical and socioeconomic challenges. “It’s what we do at Autodesk. We empower people to design and make a better world for all,” she continued. 

In addition to the banner ads, Autodesk is running a full-page ad in the Times’ print edition that includes a letter to the public from the future. 

The campaign comes as Autodesk releases its latest State of Design & Make Report, which shows trust in AI is increasing exponentially, with nearly half of industry professionals saying it is already use it in their daily work and is anticipated to help reduce burnout, increase productivity and drive innovation.


Apr 10, 2024
Agency :
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
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