Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Visit to GSD&M

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

Southwest Airlines, where “Bags Fly Free.”
Walgreens, “At the Corner of Happy and Healthy.”
The PGA Tour declares “These Guys are Good.”

What do these memorable slogans have in common? They’re all award-winning work from GSD&M, an Austin-based advertising agency founded in 1971. The Marketing Fellows had the privilege of touring the downtown Austin office with Executive Vice President and CMO, J.B. Raftus. Displayed in large letters in the entryway is the phrase “Ideas That Make a Difference.” J.B. explained that this statement guides their work with every client. When a client comes calling, GSD&M takes the time to understand the client’s unique purpose for being. Southwest doesn’t just sell airline seats, they want to democratize the skies. Chipotle doesn’t just make burritos, they exist to serve food with integrity.  With these examples, J.B. illustrated how the client’s larger purpose informs the entire creative strategy for communicating value to the consumer.

GSD&M CMO J.B. Raftus shows the Marketing Fellows "The 40 Best Things We Ever Did" Poster Series, a labor of love honoring GSD&M's 40 years in business.
Our reason for visiting GSD&M was two-fold – 1) develop a respectful envy for their talent and 2) receive an assignment! In teams of four, we are developing a complete campaign for a brand new Hilton property, Tru by Hilton. I’m not sure how much I can divulge about this revolutionary development in hotel accommodations, so I’ll let this Forbes article from January 2016 do the talking. In a couple of weeks we are due back at GSD&M’s office to present our fully-developed ideas to the agency and the client. Who knows? We could see some of the Marketing Fellows’ ideas in a social campaign for Tru by Hilton!

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