This year’s SXSW Interactive Conference was buzzing with the news of Nike+ FuelBand, developed with help from R/GA. The device itself––which measures a wearer’s activity and enables users to set goals and share with others on social networks––isn’t what had people talking. Rather, it was R/GA’s collaborative relationship with Nike, where a marketing strategy actually drove product development.
This kind of collaboration has been central to the success of R/GA since Bob Greenberg founded the company in 1977 as a digital effects house. Now in its fifth business model, the full-service ad agency continues to influence with its seemingly ceaseless creativity. All this comes from a philosophy that there is always something to learn and teach—a philosophy that speaks directly to why the firm is being honored with this year’s Agency Award from the AEF.
R/GA has long been an active participant in many of AEF’s key programs, including hosting professors at the agency as part of the Visiting Professor Program, and the Inside Advertising Speaker Program, with R/GA staff making presentations to students at top colleges and universities.
Barry Wacksman, R/GA’s chief growth officer, is an AEF board member and recently spearheaded the AEF’s newest educational initiative, Inside Advertising Forum, launched this past February. The program is built around a curated video library to provide teachers and students with first-hand information from leaders at agencies, client marketing teams and media companies. “The goal is to provide students with an insider’s perspective on what is happening in the modern world of advertising, both inside of agencies as well as with clients,” Wacksman explains.