Site Review: R/GA
Clicking over to the R/GA web site, visitors are greeted with a 964-point banner in tasteful Helvetica bold heralding the firm as the "Digital Agency of the Decade." Below it, in smaller but no less futuro-elegant text, it identifies work done on behalf of Nike Plus as the "Digital Campaign of the Decade." And I'm thinking: which decade are we talking about here?
If R/GA is referring to the aughts, mazel tov - though it's somewhat of a misrepresentation to be trumpeting an honor accorded 18 months ago. If it's the '10s (a decade desperately in need of a catchphrase-y identity), that's either serious foresight or cockiness. Heck, I could form an agency tomorrow and, with some luck and remorseless talent-poaching, whip it into agency-of-the-decade form by early 2015.
The "Digital Agency of the Decade" proclamation links to an Adweek story anointing r/ga for the decade that just passed. Still, it highlights the peril faced with creating an agency Web site: you have to be overtly, self-celebratory in a way you'd never be on a client's behalf.
On the site, we get not only the expected clip reels but also self-branding extravaganzas. The worst/funniest of the bunch alternates between clips of employees having Very Serious Conversations™ and obtusely angled shots of paintings, posters and sculptures around the office. The message? You can't hurry art, or creativity, or something.
The site's "About Us" section pushes the we-are-so-unique-and-iconoclastic-that-we-make-Christopher-Nolan-look-like-Flavor-Flav-by-comparison thing even further. We're treated to a six-minute clip in which employees tell the stories behind their tattoos and 80 seconds of professional whimsy from the 2010 R/GA holiday party.
And don't miss the tour through R/GA University. How do you gain admittance? "Curiosity. A willingness to embrace change. An eagerness to learn, no matter how many years of experience you have. At least three epidermal acres of body art." Okay, I made that last part up. Here's the sad or funny part, again: of all the agency sites I trolled for this column, R/GA's is one of the best. While ripe for mockery, it offers a superior user experience.
The site exists on a single page, requiring minimal navigation. Its content is updated on a daily basis - as opposed to competitors, which haven't circulated news of their bountiful haul at Cannes 2009. It doesn't mention the words "thought leaders" as often as it might. And, mercifully, it shuns an animated introductory sequence. You know what I'm talking about - an idea bubble morphs into a pigeon which morphs into a cloud which morphs into the Eiffel Tower which morphs into the agency logo.
So yeah, I'd hire R/GA to create a Web site, for last decade or the next one. They're precious, I'm precious - it's a match made in self-aggrandizement heaven