R/GA Goes Mobile

NEW YORK R/GA said it has begun a mobile marketing division, designed to bring the interactive brand experiences it creates to consumers wherever they are.

Richard Ting, 33, will lead the mobile and emerging media/applications unit. In his five years with the Interpublic Group agency, Ting has worked on key R/GA account Nike, in which the shop has already applied mobile to campaigns.

R/GA’s much-lauded Nike iD campaign had a key wireless component. The design-your-own-shoe application was made available to consumers via the Reuters sign in Time Square, allowing them to create a shoe design using their cell phones. It also recently worked on Nike Plus, the system that lets runners record workouts on their Apple iPod Nano via a chip in their running shoes.

Bob Greenberg, CEO of R/GA, said the mobile and emerging platforms practice would grow to be an integral part of the agency’s offerings, on par with copyrighting and strategy.

“It’s going to be very big,” he said. “All of our clients are looking to do work in this area.”

The R/GA mobile group will also include Webster Lewin, 45, who will lead mobile marketing for the group. Lewin comes to R/GA from WPP Group interactive shop VML, where he worked on wireless campaigns for clients like Burger King, Colgate-Palmolive and Microsoft. R/GA said it has also hired Claudia Bernett, 34, as an interaction designer for the mobile group. She previously worked at frog design.

To support the group, R/GA said it has created a “MEMA Lab,” where staffers can test mobile, gaming and signage applications.

Mobile marketing is slowly emerging in the U.S., which has lagged European and Asian markets’ adoption of data services. EMarketer projects U.S. mobile marketing spending of $220 million next year, rising to $435 million in 2009. Its “most aggressive” outlook for the new market has spending reaching $760 million.