The Academy at GS&P

MAKE
A CAREER
OUTTA
CREATIVITY

School. For a year. For free.
“I went to
Harvard
.
Don’t
do that. It’s really
expensive. Plus, we’re
a lot more fun.”
Jeff Goodby Founding Partner

WE’RE OPENING
A SCHOOL.

So all creatives have an equal chance at becoming professional advertising creatives. No matter how you got here.

Our editors, designers, filmmakers, sound mixers, and entire production staff will be in your pocket, ready for you to use.

All you gotta do is show up, be yourself, and commit.

And if you make it a year, you’ll have a portfolio, knowledge, and experience that will put you among the most sought-after writers, designers and art directors in the ad industry.

WHO ARE WE?

WE’RE GS&P.

Fast Company’s 2021“Most Innovative Agency in the World”
Campaign Magazine’s2020 Agency of the Year
Our
Office

WE’RE MAKERS OF THIS STUFF.

And
tons
more

We make
stuff that
impacts culture.

AND GETS
PARODIED
ON SNL.

AND STUFF
THAT WINS
AWARDS.

(if that matters to you)

“This program isn’t
seriously free, is it?”
DAVID SPENCER Chief Financial Officer

Free? Why?

Schools like this usually cost tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s made the barrier to entry focused on ability to pay, not ability to create.
And it’s built an inequity in this business that’s only been growing.
We think that’s messed up.
So, we made this free.

WHAT’LL YOU MAKE?

Lots of the type of stuff we make. Advertising stuff.
And tons of stuff we’ve never thought of.
You’ll get assignments with broad
problems to solve, then create beautiful,
clever or hilarious solutions.
And don’t worry — it’s not the stuff we’re working on.
We’d never make you do our work.

“Now we make
our own makers.
So meta.”
MARGARET JOHNSON Chief Creative Officer

WHO WILL TEACH YOU?

Us. Creative directors. Strategists. Account directors. Producers.
Even Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein, and Margaret Johnson in between Super Bowl
script meetings, new business pitches, and a whole lot more.

Dan Balser Academy Director

This is the Academy’s director.
Our full-time educator. And your go-to guy.
With over two decades of educating and
elevating some of the best talent in the industry,
he’s literally made his career out of making
other people’s careers.
And now he wants to make yours.

WHAT’S A DAN BALSER?

As a program director for 18 years at the Creative Circus, Dan taught and mentored close to 2,000 aspiring creatives, many of whom are running agency and in-house creative departments today. During Dan’s tenure the school had a 95+% placement rate and garnered countless national and international student awards.

Dan is the host of the popular advertising podcast Don’t Get Me Started. He’s the recipient of an AAF Educator of the Year Award, worked at ad agencies in New York City for a decade, and has been featured on NPR and in various trade magazines, blogs and speaker series.

The hype

Some words from a few of Dan's former students

Aside from being an amazing educator, Dan is an exceptional human being. Even though he's a copywriter by trade, he was able to elevate every idea my young Art Director brain threw at him. I am fortunate to have called him my teacher, and even more so to call him my friend in this whirlwind of an industry.

Candice Drakeford Senior Art Director at Amazon

I’ve learned many things from many talented people in advertising, but Dan may be the one who taught me the most. In the time when I needed it the most. He didn’t just give me direction, he helped build my compass.

Dan Kelly Group Creative Director at Droga5, New York

Dan is not just a great ad professional, he's an even greater teacher. He was the first person to truly see me when I moved to the US and he used what he learned to make me better. If I ever get a shot at being an educator in this industry, I want to be like Dan.

Dotun Bello Senior Copywriter at TBWA\Chiat\Day

To say I owe my entire career to Dan would be an overstatement. But to say I owe my sense of what constitutes great work, the joy of crafting jealousy-inducing copy, and an unbridled enthusiasm for the industry to him, well, that wouldn’t be an overstatement at all.

Andy Pearson VP of Creative at Liquid Death

I wouldn’t be on my current advertising path without Dan. He helped me believe in my creative potential before I saw it myself. His passion for the next generation of creatives brings the best out of you on every project. If you want a teacher who shows you not what to think but how to think, Dan is your guy.

Aaron Marshall Junior Copywriter at BBDO New York

Whatever your goals, Dan will help you get there. He gives feedback that packs years of insights in a few minutes and delivers it in a way that makes you feel like the only student in a crowded classroom. He is the best advertising instructor I know, full stop.

Adil Hussain Senior Copywriter at BCG Brighthouse

Dan always pushes his students to try harder, but he also never shies away from praising them for a job well done. Even to this day, I still strive for those same (rare) feelings of success that I achieved in his classes. The many lessons he’s taught me have stayed relevant through every step in my career. If you have the opportunity to learn from Dan, do yourself a favor – go for it.

Brandon Kim Copywriter at Cartwright

Dan doesn't just teach the indispensable fundamentals of creativity and concepting–he teaches creative integrity. And he models it every day. He shows you not only how to bring ideas to life, but also how to thrive in the world of advertising. I consider Dan 'my' mentor, but the truth is, he mentors each and every person who learns from him.

Elizabeth Cauvel VP, Group Creative Director at MRY

Dan played a foundational role in my career when I was just getting started in the creative industry, and I'm forever grateful. His kind, warm and funny nature made it easy for me to learn the basics of the creative process in the most comfortable way possible. An extraordinary talent and force all his own, Dan is not only a wonderful creative and educator, but he's simply a wonderful human that anyone would be lucky to have in their corner.

Ashley Bozeman Art Director at Mother

My favorite thing about Dan is that he never tries to 'teach.' Instead, he supports your curiosity, encourages your creativity (in all its shapes and forms) and shows you that your bad ideas are sometimes just as important as your bold ones. He's incredibly invested in his students; in their work, their potential and their future.

École Weinstein Global Creative Lead at Delivery at Uber

Dan Balser has an almost superhuman ability to find his students’ unique talents. The things that you think make you a weirdo, Dan will use to turn you into a great creative. I can confidently say I owe my career to him.

Karly Brooks Senior Copywriter at The Martin Agency

Dan was my teacher. A year later I made this website.

Martha Jane Shafer Art Director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners
K. where?
Our office,
San Francisco.
For a year.
You up for it?
ADMISSION IS FREE.
SPACE IS LIMITED.
LET’S GET TO WORK.

faqs

How is this different from other ad schools?
What if I don’t know what I want to be when I graduate?
Will I work on real projects?
Do I have to show creative samples to get in?
Who will my teachers be?
Is it really free?
When does it all start?

INAUGURAL CLASS APPLICATION


Thank you to all who applied to The Academy at GSP for 2022!

The application window is now closed, but we are on a roll and we’re not about to stop now.

So please watch this space for information on 2023.

THE ACADEMY AT GOODBY, SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS APPLICATION PROGRAM TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Applications will only be accepted from the 50 United States including the District of Columbia. Applications originating from outside of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia will not be eligible.

  • The Application Program. To apply for admission to The Academy at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (“Academy”), during the Application Period, go to http://theacademy.goodbysilverstein.com (“Site”), read these Terms and Conditions, and fully complete the Inaugural Class application (including your full name and email address) and submit the application with an essay (the “Essay”) which responds to the question, “Tell us about yourself in a tweet” (in 280 characters or less) and provide either (a) samples of creative work (the “Samples”) (there is no limit on the number of samples you can submit); or (b) an answer to one of the provided application questions (the “Answer”). The Essays, Samples, Answers and all application materials will be hereinafter referred to as the “Application.” All Applications must satisfy the Application Guidelines and Restrictions set forth in Section 4. SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION ONLY PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY FOR APPLICANTS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE ACADEMY. ALL DECISIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE ACADEMY ARE AT THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE ACADEMY AND THE JUDGES. By applying, each applicant warrants and represents the following with respect to his or her Application: (a) applicant is the sole and exclusive owner of the Application; (b) the Application will not infringe on any rights of any third parties; (c) any statements included in the Application are true, complete, and accurate; and (d) submitting an Application and/or participation in the Academy (if applicable) does not conflict with any existing commitments on applicant’s part nor does it violate any third party rights and/or agreements.

  • Application Period. The application period begins at 12:00:01 AM Pacific Time on October 18, 2021 and ends at 11:59:59 PM Pacific Time on December 1, 2021 (“Application Period”).

  • Eligibility. Applications are open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are at least (18) eighteen years of age and the age of majority in their state of residence. However, if accepted, Selected Applicants (defined below in Section 6) must reside within commuting distance of the San Francisco Bay area. Void outside of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, or where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

  • Application Guidelines and Content Restrictions: By applying, each applicant agrees that his or her Application conforms to the Application Guidelines and Content Restrictions as defined below (collectively, the “Guidelines and Restrictions”). GS&P , in its sole discretion, may remove any Application and disqualify an applicant if it believes, in its sole discretion, that the applicant’s Application fails to conform to the Guidelines and Restrictions.

  • Application Guidelines:
    • The Application must be in English.
      Content Restrictions:
    • The Application must not contain material that violates or infringes any rights of any other party, including but not limited to copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity or any other intellectual property rights;
    • The Application must not in any way disparage GS&P or any other person or party;
    • The Application must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous;
    • The Application must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred, or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age;
    • The Application must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations of the United States or of any jurisdiction where Application is created; and
    • The Application must be consistent with and satisfy the purpose of the Academy.

    Each applicant acknowledges that other applicants may have used ideas and/or concepts in their Application that may be similar in idea or concept to what is included in applicant’s Application. Each applicant understands and agrees that he/she shall not have any claim against any other applicant or GS&P arising out any such similarity or be entitled to any compensation because of any such similarity.

    GS&P’s decisions are final and binding in all matters relating to the Academy, including, but not limited to, interpretation and application of these Terms and Conditions. By applying to the Academy, applicants fully and unconditionally agree to be bound by the rules and the decisions of the judges, which will be final and binding in all matters relating to the Application Program.

  • Finalist Judging Panel/Judging Criteria. On or about December 15, 2021, all eligible Applications will be judged by employees of GS&P to determine the Academy finalists (the “Finalists”). All Applications will be judged based on the following judging criteria (“Judging Criteria”): (i) Originality; (ii) Clarity and Execution of Submission; and (iii) Demonstrates the requisite skill to succeed at the Academy . In the event of a tie, the highest score in the Originality category will determine the Finalists. If selected, Finalists will be required to participate in the Finalist Interviews as set forth in Section 6 to determine the Selected Applicants (as defined in Section 6).

  • Finalist Interviews. Finalists will be contacted by GS&P via email to schedule a thirty (30) minute virtual (i.e., “Zoom”) interview (“Finalist Interviews”) to help determine which Finalists will be selected to the Academy (the “Selected Applicants”). If a Finalist does not respond within the time frame designated by GS&P , does not schedule his or her Finalist Interview or does not attend his or her scheduled Finalist Interview on time, the Finalist’s Interview may be forfeited and may be offered to another applicant (if time permits), as determined in the Academy’s sole and absolute discretion. The Finalist Interviews will take place between November 1, 2022 and January 7, 2022 (“Interview Period”).

    Final selection of the Selected Applicants will take place the week of January 10, 2022 and selection will be based both on the Finalist’s Application and the Finalist Interview. GS&P will determine the Selected Applicants based on the following equally-weighted judging criteria: (i) Advertising acumen, including flexibility with shifting priorities and ability to accept feedback and tolerate rejection; (ii) Commitment to and Enthusiasm for the Program; and (iii) Articulates a varied life experience and perspective.

  • The Academy. Selected Applicants will be admitted to The Academy of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (“Academy”) , which admission is non-transferable or substitutable except by GS&P in its sole discretion. All expenses and taxes of the applicant incurred in connection with attending the Academy are the responsibility of Selected Applicants.

    The Academy is not an accredited institution.

  • As a condition of admission to the Academy:

    • Each Selected Applicant must agree to the Academy Handbook, the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Employee Handbook and Code of Conduct and any other documents required by GS&P (collectively, “GS&P’s Handbooks”).
    • Each Selected Applicant must reside within commuting distance of the San Francisco Bay area. EACH SELECTED APPLICANT UNDERSTANDS AND AGREES THAT GS&P WILL NOT PROVIDE NOR REIMBURSE SELECTED APPLICANTS FOR ROOM, BOARD AND/OR ANY TRAVEL EXPENSES AND ALL SUCH COSTS AND EXPENSES WILL BE THE SELECTED APPLICANT’S SOLE RESPONSIBILITY.
    Selected Applicants understand that they will be students of the Academy and not employees of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, although they may be required to grant the Academy rights in any work they create as members of the Academy. Admission into the Academy does not guarantee that Selected Applicants will complete the Academy as GS&P reserves the right to suspend and/or expel any students who fail to comply with GS&P’s Handbooks or do not satisfy the standards and criteria of the Academy, as determined by GS&P in its sole and absolute discretion.
  • Notification. On or about January 14, 2022, Selected Applicants will be notified by email and may be required to sign and return, where legal, an Affidavit or Declaration of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and/or rights transfer document within five (5) days of notification. Admission to the Academy will be forfeited if any Selected Applicant cannot be contacted within ten (10) calendar days of first notification attempt; if notification is returned as undeliverable; if any Selected Applicant rejects admission to the Academy; or in the event of noncompliance with these Terms and Conditions and/or the requirements of GS&P’s Handbooks.

  • Conditions. Any and all federal, state, and local taxes are the sole responsibility of Selected Applicants. Participation in Academy constitutes each Selected Applicant’s permission for GS&P to use his/her/its name, address (city and state), likeness, photograph, picture, portrait, voice, biographical information, Application, any work created or developed by the selected applicant as part of the Academy and/or any statements made by each Selected Applicant regarding the Academy and/or GS&P for advertising and promotional purposes without notice or additional compensation, except where prohibited by law. By participating, applicants agree to release and hold harmless GS&P, the Academy and their respective advertising and promotion agencies and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers and directors (collectively, “Released Entities”), from any and all liability, for loss, harm, damage, injury, cost or expense whatsoever including without limitation, property damage, personal injury and/or death which may occur in connection with the Application Program, or preparation for, travel to, or participation in the Academy, or admission to the Academy or participation in any Application Program-related or Academy-related activity and for any claims based on publicity rights, defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, trademark infringement or any other intellectual property-related cause of action. Applicants who do not comply with the Terms and Conditions or attempt to interfere with the application process in any way shall be disqualified. GS&P is not responsible if the Academy fails to take place or if it must take place virtually or on another date or if admission to the Academy cannot be awarded due to travel cancellations, delays or interruptions due to acts of God, acts of war, natural disasters, epidemics, pandemics, weather or acts of terrorism.

  • Additional Terms. Any attempted form of submission other than as set forth in Section 1 is prohibited; no automatic, programmed; robotic or similar means of submission are permitted. Released Entities are not responsible for technical, hardware, software, telephone or other communications malfunctions, errors or failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, web site, Internet, or ISP availability, unauthorized human intervention, traffic congestion, incomplete or inaccurate capture of entry information (regardless of cause) or failed, incomplete, garbled, jumbled or delayed computer transmissions which may limit one’s ability to apply for the Academy, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participating in the Academy or downloading any materials in connection with the Academy or this application process. GS&P reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, extend or suspend the Application Program or the Academy should (in its sole discretion) virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, epidemics, pandemics or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the Application Program or the Academy. In such case, GS&P may select the Finalists and Selected Applicants from all eligible applications received prior to and/or after the action taken by GS&P . GS&P reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds, in its sole discretion, to be tampering with the application process or the operation of the Application Program, the Academy or the Site. GS&P may prohibit an applicant from participating in the Application Program or receiving admission to the Academy if, in its sole discretion, it determines that said applicant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Application Program by cheating, hacking, deception, or other unfair playing practices (including the use of automated quick entry programs) or intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other applicants or GS&P’s representatives.

  • CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN APPLICANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE APPLICATION PROGRAM MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, GS&P RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

  • In the event of a dispute as to any Application, the authorized account holder of the email address used to register will be deemed to be the applicants and must comply with the Terms and Conditions. The "authorized account holder" is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address. Each applicant may be required to show proof of being an authorized account holder.

  • Limitation of Liability; Disclaimer of Warranties. IN NO EVENT WILL THE RELEASED ENTITIES (DEFINED ABOVE) BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OR LOSSES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF YOUR ACCESS TO AND USE OF THE SITE AND/OR FROM DOWNLOADING AND/OR PRINTING MATERIAL DOWNLOADED FROM ANY WEBSITES ASSOCIATED WITH THE APPLICATION PROGRAM OR THE ACADEMY. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, ADMISSION TO THE ACADEMY IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. SOME JURISDICTIONS MAY NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES OR EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES SO SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS FOR ANY RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS REGARDING THESE LIMITATIONS OR EXCLUSIONS.

  • Disputes; Governing Law. The parties waive all rights to trial in any action or proceeding instituted in connection with the Terms and Conditions, including, without limitation, the Application Program or the Academy. Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to the Terms and Conditions and/or the Application Program or the Academy shall be settled by binding arbitration in accordance with the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association. Any such controversy or claim shall be arbitrated on an individual basis and shall not be consolidated in any arbitration with any claim or controversy of any other party. The arbitration shall be conducted in the State of California , in the county of San Francisco.

    THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND INTERPRETATION OF ITS TERMS SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA WITHOUT REGARD TO ITS CONFLICTS OF LAWS RULES. For any matters which are not subject to arbitration as set forth in the Terms and Conditions and/or in connection with the entering of any judgment on an arbitration award in connection with the Terms and Conditions and/or the Application Program or the Academy, the parties irrevocably submit and consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state and federal courts located in the State of California in the county of San Francisco . The parties agree not to raise the defense of forum non conveniens.

  • Use of Data. GS&P will be collecting personal data about applicants online, in accordance with its privacy policy. Please review GS&P’s privacy policy at [INCLUDE LINK TO PRIVACY POLICY]. By participating in the Application Program or the Academy, applicants hereby agree to GS&P’s collection and usage of their personal information and acknowledge that they have read and accepted GS&P’s privacy policy.

  • Sponsor. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (“GS&P”), 720 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.