@GSP help parents boost their children’s vocabulary through Talking, Reading and Singing


A new campaign from Goodby Silverstein & Partners called “Talking Is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” launched in Oakland last week, featuring a clothing line, designed by the agency, that will be given away free of charge to new parents.

The campaign, developed for the Bay Area Council, highlights how simple actions done every day from birth—such as describing objects seen during a bus ride, singing songs, reading aloud or telling stories—can significantly improve babies’ ability to build vocabulary and can boost their brain development.

What makes this campaign different is that it’s not just another brochure (…) We are bringing learning opportunities to Oakland by giving parents actual tools—a onesie for the baby, a blanket, a bath towel—that will spark conversation.

Jim Wunderman,

CEO Bay Area Council.

The onesies, blankets and other materials will be distributed free of charge at more than 15 locations: Oakland hospitals, pediatric clinics, family playgroups, childcare programs and First 5 Alameda County. The clothing and blankets are all being produced by local clothing retailer Oaklandish.

‘Free with every baby’ are the simple instructions (…) And frankly, it’s just as much fun for parents as it is for the baby.

Jeff Goodby

GS&P co-chairman

While the tote bags will be distributed free of charge at the locations listed above, those parents who wish to order materials directly from the website can do so at talkreadsing.org.

The campaign also features billboards and bus-shelter ads with prompts like “Let’s talk about the bus” that will remind parents that everyday activities are an opportunity to help their child develop.

In addition to the billboards, there will be television and radio public service announcements running in the Bay Area and a website, talkreadsing.org, where parents can learn more.

According to recent field research, fewer than half of parents and caregivers in Oakland report reading to their children every day, and even fewer report talking about their day and singing to their children. These activities have been shown to have a profound impact on the early learning of very young children, whose brains develop approximately 80 percent of their capacity by age three. In fact, talking, reading and singing in daily routines builds children’s vocabularies—and a large vocabulary is a key predictor of later reading success.

Research also shows that, incredibly, children from affluent backgrounds hear 30 million more words than kids from low-income homes hear. This campaign seeks to close that word gap in a practical way.

The facts about the word gap and the implications it has on the lives of children and their parents were eye-opening (…) We were inspired to turn the world into a learning opportunity. We wanted the campaign to be colorful, positive and intuitive and we wanted every aspect to help start a conversation with your child, from the clothing line to the outdoor to the TV.

Nick Klinkert

Creative Director GS&P

The idea caught the attention of Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, and they are sponsoring the campaign as well, with plans to make it the model for a national initiative. Other partners include UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and Kaiser Permanente. Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce.com, has donated $3.5 million to develop the campaign in the Oakland community.

Hillary Clinton spoke about her support for the program during a July 23 visit to Oakland hospitals.

There was also a citywide “baby shower” at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland on July 24. Hundreds of Oakland families received clothing, blankets and books and were joined by performer José-Luis Orozco, storytellers, storybook characters and community leaders.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners is one of the world’s most respected and most awarded advertising agencies. Founded in 1983, GS&P is headquartered in San Francisco, with an office in New York City. More than 300 employees serve a broad array of accounts, including Comcast/XFINITY, Frito-Lay, the California Milk Processor Board (“got milk?”), Adobe, Cisco, SONIC Drive-In and many others. GS&P is part of the Omnicom Group.

Campaign Credits

Client: Bay Area Council and partners: Too Small to Fail (a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation), UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, Kaiser Permanente

Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

  • Co-Chairman: Jeff Goodby
  • Creative Director: Nick Klinkert
  • Copywriter: Simon Bruyn
  • Art Director: Andrew Livingston
  • Designers: Mandi Lin, Steven Bonner
  • Digital Artist: Jessica Pettigrew
  • Brand Strategy Director: Stephanie Phillips
  • Senior Communications Strategist: John-James Richardson
  • Director of New Business: Todd Grantham
  • Account Director: Michael Crain
  • Account Manager: Kristy Green
  • Project Integration Director: Caitlin Barry
  • Director of Communication: John Kovacevich
  • Executive Producer (Broadcast): Hilary Coate
  • Producers (Merchandise, Outdoor): Noah Dasho, Suzee Barrabee
  • Business Affairs: Judy Ybarra


Outfits, Towels, Totes

  • Merchandise/Retail Partner: Angela Tsay and her team at Oaklandish


  • Media: Clear Channel
  • Retouching: DMAX



  • Executive Interactive Producer: Margaret Brett-Kearns
  • Interactive Producer: Justin Visser
  • Associate Web Developer: Kia Lam
  • Associate User Experience Manager: Patrick Wong

Video Public Service Announcement

  • Director: Todd Hido
  • Director of Photography: Rory Mulhere
  • Agent/Manager: Rob Magnotta
  • Production Coordinator: Kacy Strand

Editorial Company: Cut & Run

  • Editor: Pete Koob
  • Assistant Editor: Russel Fong
  • Executive Producer: Deanne Mehling

Finishing/Visual Effects: Ntropic

  • Matt Tremaglio: VFX Flame, On-line
  • Colorist: Marshall Plante
  • Producer: Nadia Patel

Animation/graphics: Woodshop

  • Creative Director: Trevor Shepard
  • Art Director: Jordan Scott
  • Executive Producer: Sam Swisher
  • Head of Production: Paul Winze
  • Lead Animator: Rachel Yonda


Audio: M Squared Productions

  • Engineer: Mark Pitchford

Spanish Translation:  Peritus Language Services

Radio Public Service Announcement

Audio: M Squared Productions

  • Engineer: Mark Pitchford

Campaign Video

  • Director/DP/Editor: Eric Herron
  • Producer: Michael Damiani