- Interview with Bob Greenberg
art, creativity, data, digital advertising, global operations, technology, R/GA
Bob Greenberg is a pioneer in advertising and communication. As Founder, Chairman, and CEO of R/GA, Greenberg has transformed a motion graphics and video production company (founded in 1977) into an award-winning global firm that leverages technologies and communication tools to help its clients reach their audiences and solve various problems. In the following interview, Greenberg weaves stories and examples from his life and career to define what “digital” means for advertising. He describes R/GA’s place in digital advertising’s evolution. He also explains how technology, data, creativity, art, and inspiring workspaces can and should come together to push agencies beyond the scope of advertising-as-selling. Greenberg asserts that advertising is one piece of the larger pie, especially as firms become global. For the industry to succeed now and in the future, agencies need to recognize how data, technology, and creativity intersect intelligently to bring their clients and publics together in mutually beneficial ways.
The Editors thank Barry Wacksman for arranging the filming of this interview at R/GA, New York.
Bob Greenberg—Founder, Chairman, and CEO of R/GA—has been a pioneer in the advertising and communications industry for nearly four decades. He leads the vision for R/GA, an agency that serves as the digital partner for Fortune 500 companies and world-renowned brands, including Nike, Beats by Dre, Unilever, Samsung, Google, and Johnson & Johnson.
R/GA is one of the world’s most influential agencies, emphasizing the importance of business transformation, product/service innovation, and breakthrough communications. The agency has offices in New York, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland, and internationally in London, Bucharest, Istanbul, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Singapore, and Shanghai.
Bob, along with his brother Richard, founded R/Greenberg Associates (R/GA) in 1977 with the idea of creating a company that valued design, but also focused on developing leading-edge motion graphics and live-action film and video production. The company created groundbreaking visual effects for movies such as Alien, Predator, Se7en, and Zelig. To date, R/GA’s body of work spans 400 feature films and 4,000 television commercials.
Bob has evolved the company several times since its founding, transforming it from a world-class movie title shop, to a digital studio, to a major digital advertising agency, and today, to an all-in-one, full-service agency, product and service innovator, and consultancy. Now in its fifth business model, R/GA has become one of the most successful integrated marketing services companies, creating everything from new products and digital services, to social and mobile campaigns, to broadcast commercials.
Bob serves on the boards of numerous schools and organizations, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Ad Council, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (Dean’s Council advisory board), NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, Parsons School of Design, and the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. He is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Bob has won almost every industry award for creativity, including the Academy Award, D&AD Pencils, and Cannes Lions. Among his most notable accolades are the Cannes Lions lifetime achievement Lion of St. Mark, the honorary title Royal Designer for Industry (Hon RDI) from the Royal Society for Arts, the ANDY Bravery Award, the 2007 BDA Lifetime Achievement Award, the CLIO Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Communication in 2003, and the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design. Bob was also recently inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame, Marketing Hall of Fame, and the Creative Hall of Fame. For the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, he served as Cyber Jury President in 2004 and 2013, as a member of the 2005 Titanium Jury...