We have to say we’ve seen better-produced “Backstage” clips from R/GA (where’s the sequel to “Retro-Tech”?, but hell, on a day like this, why not pretend we’re on E! and judge its New York staffers’ fashi0n tastes. Here’s the latest Backstage entry from the R/GA NY camp, complete with French-accented VO courtesy of ACD David Trumpf. Sure, these cats may be the most fashion-forward folks on one specific block of Hell’s Kitchen, but looking at the bigger picture, fellow agencies like BBH New York might give them a run for their money.
R/GA has found a new partner-in-crime for executive creative director Rob Smiley (you know, this guy) in its San Francisco office, as “the agency for the digital age” has tapped Frog Design alum Michael Jefferson to serve as co-ECD and c0-lead creative efforts in its Bay Area branch. Jefferson (pictured) has spent the last six years as creative director at the global Frog Design, working with a client roster that included Microsoft, GE, Visa and AT&T. Prior to Frog, the new R/GA ECD spent time working as an an interaction designer/producer at the likes of Verizon and SF shop Eleven. He replaces Mark Shewmaker, who left R/GA back in July.
Along with Jefferson’s hire, R/GA SF, currently 65-strong in terms of staff, has tapped Ari Nave and Matt Nelson to serve as group planning director and director, mobile & social platforms, respectively. Nave most recently served as SVP, group planning director at Deutsch and has worked on the planning side at other agencies such as McGarryBowen, O&M and Grey San Francisco during his career. Nelson, meanwhile, joins R/GA SF from Tribal DDB SF, where he worked as director, digital and social strategy.
Thanks again, tipsters. R/GA, aka the “agency for the digital age,” has announced a creative overhaul of sorts, mainly that Nick Law, currently North America chief creative officer, will take over for Bob Greenberg as global CCO. In addition, Chloe Gottlieb and Taras Wayner are now taking the creative helm at R/GA’s New York office, which is the agency’s largest in the global network.
In a statement, Greenberg, who remains chairman/CEO of the IPG-owned agency, says of his successor (pictured), “Nick Law is one of the best creative and visionary minds in the business and it’s been a pleasure to work with him for more than a decade now. This evolution in his role will allow him to apply and share his expertise with our rapidly growing global network, ensuring our creative ethos is consistent across the world.”
Along with Law’s move up to the big creative chair, tipsters were spot-on once again as Tim Allen has indeed rejoined his old stomping grounds at R/GA after a brief spell at SapientNitro’s Boston office. Allen will now head up R/GA’s experience design department. As for new NY co-creative chief Wayner, the exec most recently served as VP/ECD at R/GA, which he joined in 2007. Gottlieb, meanwhile, has spent a dozen years at the agency and will now be succeeded by Allen.
Hey, if Firstborn can encapsulate its move to a new office in a minute’s time, why can’t fellow digital operation R/GA do the same? Well, rather than document the actual process of changing offices in hyperspeed ala the former, folks from R/GA London have opted for a bit of symbolism to signify their move to a larger space in the city’s hip Clerkenwell neighborhood. As you can see, a few agency staffers mark the transition with the help of a large-size Google Maps pin, though for some reason we think their move to the new office would’ve been better served with the theme from Benny Hill.
Even though this year’s ANDY Awards are said and done (and thanks for bucking the trend of the traditional ad awards show), R/GA would still like to help the winners gloat. The “agency for the digital age” has unveiled the myANDY app, which lets you, yes, download your trophy to your iPhone. If you’re feeling the need to rub your prize in a bit further, feel free to watch the video above. We’ve been told that only actual ANDY winners will get access to download the app, which makes sense.
To create buzz and some PR pickup for his new single, “Pass it On,” Swedish rapper Adam Tensta turned to R/GA for a viral lift. R/GA’s solution, “One Copy Song,” is a Facebook app that allows one person worldwide to hear Tensta’s new track at a time. Yes, if you want to hear Tensta’s new track as of this post’s publication, you have to wait in line behind at least 100 other people.
According to a statement from R/GA, “One Copy Song makes the release of a song an intimate experience, bringing you closer to the artist and the community. Moreover, it brings back the anticipation around the release of new music that’s been lost in the digital age.” And, for an extra social media push, users can actually “cut” the line, moving up in order to hear the aptly titled “Pass It On” by tweeting about it, watching Tensta’s music video for his track “Like a Punk” on YouTube or listening to his song “Before U Know It” on Spotify. Users can also access a world map on the Facebook app that tracks where in the world the song has been listened to. The app is set for a full launch for any artist’s use this summer.
Now, as this is a PR move/soft launch, I would highly doubt that Tensta’s results will be indicative of artists who try One Copy Song in the future. After all, we live in an era where we expect any intellectual property to be instantly accessed online at a moment’s notice. And, as a young artist trying to make a breakthrough into stardom, wouldn’t you want as many people to hear your songs as possible? Waiting in line, even with the opportunity to budge others, isn’t (and never has been) much of an incentive to do anything, besides looking for a hoppin’ bar.
Even for artists that are already big, wouldn’t following Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want model for In Rainbows or Jay-Z and Kayne West’s Watch the Throne iTunes launch be a much better way to restore the “anticipation” R/GA talks about? I could be wrong, but for an Internet-driven world where instant gratification is a means for valuing content, I don’t foresee One Copy Song as a sustainable model for music distribution.
Speaking of R/GA, with tomorrow’s mandatory Facebook Timeline conversion for Pages fast approaching, said shop has finally adhered and delved into its history, which of course began in the film industry. The agency for the digital age’s Timeline offers a nice glimpse at a company that started in computer-assisted filmmaking courtesy of Bob and Richard Greenberg and, of course, has now evolved into the global operation you know today. Since we’re partial to sci-fi/horror, we figured we’d show you another image that provides the background on the brothers Greenberg’s work on Alien. See the rest of the Timeline here. Meanwhile, we’re still on the fence about Timeline, but here are some tips if you need.
SXSW Interactive 2012 went out with a bang this year, as Tumblr and the Barbarian Group took over one of Austin’s most famous indoor/outdoor venue, Mohawk.
Aside from holding claim to maybe the best venue in Austin, the Barbarians were able to bring SXSW Interactive’s most-impressive musical lineup to the show, with the bill including the likes of Japandroids, Kool Keith, Bear in Heaven, Matthew Dear, and Wavves (pictured above). While advertising industry concertgoers schmoozed in the upstairs VIP era, the standing area near the stage was at a constant level of intensity, featuring relentless moshing and body-passing, especially during Wavves’ set.
Outside, the waiting line snaked around the block. But, a lucky few had access to the R/GA Shuttle, a double-decker bus that carted around R/GA employees and their clients throughout the course of the conference. Why wait in an hour-long line when you can peer over the fence from the comfort of a party bus?
The “Robotrip” party (I don’t know what’s up with the name, either) served as the perfect transition from SXSW Interactive to the Music portion of the festival. Sure, you could’ve celebrated across town at GSD&M’s “Industry Party,” or you could’ve rocked out with some Barbarians and a ton of non-industry, non-badge-holding music fans dancing feverishly to their favorite bands. To be frank, I’m happy I picked the latter. Now, on to Music!
And now, here’s a little lunchtime filler for you tech geeks who want to wax nostalgic for a few minutes. As you’ll see above, a bunch of folks from R/GA decided to take a look back on the technologies that either played an instrumental part in their upbringing or were just hard to ignore at the time. Whether it be the original Nintendo, a Commodore, floppy disks, a 14.4 modem, beepers or chatting on ICQ, pretty much all the bases from yesterday are covered in this purposely antiquated-looking video called, yes, “Retro Tech.” It sure has an I Love the 80′s feel to it, don’t it? Now, who wants to take us on in Duck Hunt?
OK, folks, the saga is over and R/GA has finally rolled out a full-fledged announce confirming that former Big Fuel executive creative director Chris Bradley has joined the agency for the digital age as ECD on the MasterCard account. Along with providing a better photo of the man (which shows he might bear a slight resemblance to Gary Oldman), we might as well also shed some light on his days at Big Fuel. During his brief stay at the social media agency, Bradley worked on initiatives across BF’s past and present clients including GM, T-Mobile, Microsoft, Philips and Chevy (he oversaw the “Chevy Camaro 2 Million” Facebook campaign, for example).
Prior to Big Fuel, as we previously mentioned, Bradley spent time as a senior creative at agencies including Ogilvy’s New York and San Francisco offices, serving as senior partner/GCD on Motorola and Stoli among other accounts at the latter branch. From what sources familiar with the matter tell us, Bradley will assume his post at R/GA on Jan. 24.
H/T to the tipsters, as always.