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Sean Pedeflous of Grandesign Experiential

Pivot! The Ross Geller Method of Experiential Marketing in a COVID-19 World

This event marketing pro explains why Ross Geller from TV show "Friends" has some useful advice.

Ross Geller from the TV show “Friends”: lover of dinosaurs, elder brother of Monica Geller--and event marketing expert?

As a paleontologist and college professor, Ross has taught us many valuable life lessons over the years. While “Friends” may be airing only in reruns, Ross isn’t done lending his wisdom. His most recent lesson is geared towards event and experiential marketing professionals.

In an industry where everything has seemingly been turned upside down, we can seek knowledge and guidance from Ross Geller. Some of his most famous core values can provide actionable insight to event marketers as they try to navigate turbulent waters of the COVID-19 event landscape.


The Ross Geller Method can be used by event marketers as a simple checklist during the RFP and proposal process. By following some of his most well-known idioms, marketers can be sure their presentation deck is hitting crucial key elements necessary to address due to coronavirus.

By pivoting your strategy to address coronavirus and new needs (Ross yells, “Pivot!” as he, Rachel and Chandler struggle to carry a couch upstairs), this checklist should be “unagi” (Ross’s definition--not the fish) for any event and experiential marketing professional.

R: Research

O: Objectives

S: Social Scalability

S: Safety & Health

R: Research

As a paleontologist and Ph.D. from Columbia University, Ross knows firsthand how important research is.

Advertising that connects and differentiates starts with research. By properly researching the client and the issue, you'll be able to deliver actionable ideas that will speak directly to their target audience.

Selling a client on the “why” before the “what,” with data to back it up, will go a long way in separating your proposal from those submitted by competing agencies.

O: Objectives

The danger of not having a clear objective or plan is something that Ross had to learn the hard way. When he was at the altar with Emily, he accidentally said, “Rachel.” He didn’t have a clear strategy … which is why his marriage ended up falling apart.

Event marketers can learn from this by always defining clear objectives. Generally, a creative brief is a tool that can help with this. It allows the creative team to effectively do their job while keeping the business objectives at the forefront of their ideas. Why this project is needed and what is the expected outcome? Once clearly answered, core objectives should then be supported by a strategy, vision and execution plan on how to effectively achieve them.

Brands should never just jump directly to ideating from the second they get an RFP, just like Ross should have never jumped into marriage with Emily or Rachel.

S: Social Scalability

In “The One With the Memorial Service,” Ross fakes his own death and then promotes his (fake) funeral online to gain sympathy from thousands of ex-classmates. He looks to social media to see who is coming to the funeral and the online conversation it stirs up. Unfortunately for Ross, no one really cared that he died.

However, in this instance, Ross is clearly demonstrating his advanced knowledge of social media and the ability to think beyond the event’s physical footprint.

Large events will return, but in the meantime, markets must be as efficient as possible to reach as many people, including adding a digital component.

According to Chaos Theory, 98 percent of people at an event create new digital content. Of that, 100 percent of them share that content! Because of this, live events can no longer be thought of just a singular occurrence. To be effective and reach people on a larger scale, brands must always incorporate social media/scalability into their event planning.

S: Safety & Health

With the COVID crisis dominating headlines, putting a health and safety component into event plans is an essential.

GDX Studios is committed to providing the safest environment possible in the experiential marketing industry. By adopting the guidelines and standards established by leading health organizations, we have created the GDXtra Care – Health & Safety Program.

This proprietary initiative will ensure appropriate procedures have been implemented at every event to enhance the health and safety of attendees, staff, vendor partners and clients.

There’s Never a Need to “Pivot” When You Have a Good Strategy

By following the Ross Geller Method of selling event marketing, you’re giving yourself a “dinosaur-sized” advantage. Creating efficiencies within the proposal process will ensure it’s clear, on target and answers priority questions every event should include (even if a client isn’t asking).

With the Ross Gellaer Method to pitching experiential marketing, you won’t ever have to “pivot” your pitch-deck strategy.

Sean Pedeflous is director of creatives services at GDX Studios, headquartered in San Diego with offices in New York City and Sacramento, Calif. The company takes pride in its award-winning creative vision, one-of-a-kind ideation, execution and experience bringing innovative concepts to reality for top-tier brands including Universal, Warner Bros, TBS, HBO, the Walt Disney Co. and Adult Swim.

TAGS: News
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