Mumbrella hangout with R/GA founder Bob Greenberg



The founder of one of the most influential digital agencies in the world Bob Greenberg told Mumbrella during a live video hangout that “planning is controversial”, arguing planning insights have evolved beyond consumer insights.

He was interviewed by Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes and Mumbrella Asia editor Robin Hicks on a variety of topics including the future of the industry, the model behind the agency, his views on the future of wearable technology, and his view on award shows and scam advertising.

Responding to a question from social media around what talents R/GA looks for in planners specifically he said: “Planning is controversial. We went through different versions of planning and we think that the insight now has changed dramatically from being one that would be used for a storytelling, metaphorical commercial and again I’m not suggesting those are going to go away, I’m just suggesting they’re going to become less relevant. A really great planning insight together with great production is going to be a very successful commercial, that type of planning is still very relevant.

“But the insights that we look for in the so-called digital landscape are themes that cut across many channels and wind up being much more complex to find and uncover and that type of planning, which isn’t just consumer insights but actually experiential insights, makes for a very different type of planner that we really seek out and try to find.

The new skills an agency like R/GA is on the look out for “around the consultative side and what we’re think is products and services,” Greenberg said.

“To design and figure out and amplify a service is really important.”

Greenberg co-founded agency R/GA in 1977, initially as a VFX production house working on films including Alien and Predator, and evolving the agency to a digital production house, then to a digital marketing agency, into its current proposition as a “full-service agency and product and service innovator” consultancy.

On his first visit to Australia Greenberg opened the ADMA Creative Fuel conference on Monday setting out his views on how digital agencies’ storytelling abilities are underrated, and why he see the “metaphorical” 30-second TV commercial disappearing in the next few years.

The agency is also considered a pioneer in the wearable technology space creating the multi-award winning Nike+ platform and later Nike Fuelband for the US clothing giant.

R/GA opened an office in Sydney in January 2013 and currently does work for clients including Qantas, Telstra and ANZ bank.


  1. Question from the comment floor
    30 Jul 14
    11:04 am

  2. Q – on traditional agencies, does he see them as a threat in the digital space / do they have a lead role to play still when our lives are digitally led ?

    Q – on scam ad, it doesn’t seem at all prevalent in digital, arguably it’d be easier to scam digital work, yet the category seems rather pure. Why is that?

  3. jennifer
    30 Jul 14
    11:14 am

  4. Welcome to Bob.
    There are a thousand small agencies that have opened up. All offer social media as though it is the most amazing thing to win clients. When each agency is offering lower prices to win business, how is a small start up meant to make a living, even when the team onboard is multi skilled and award winning. Clients demand everything for lower prices but then say we will shop it around? Not to be negative but people do not want to pay creative’s their fair price it seems these days. Everybody is an expert on media, when in fact they are not. IMO . Anyway a question I would love Bob to answer? regards Jenn