Back to the future?

"The plus next to the swoosh is the best case study of where the business of marketing and advertising is going in the future, " said Bob Greenberg, co-founder of R/GA, in a presentation with Stefan Olander about the agency's work on Nike+, and future products in the same line, like the Fuel Band. "The community of users is up to 7 million," said Greenberg,   "and it's now a Nike-owned media channel that we are building these new capabilities on, similar to Amazon, Apple,and Google." He says he feels that the latest innovation,the Fuel Band, which captures the amount of energy exerted during the day, and which the agency masterminded and then built over 2 years once Nike gave them the go-ahead, is the kind of idea they could bring to "every one of our clients." ,

While plugging Stefan's new book, "Velocity," and his Nike-based work (Greenberg is a master plugger)  he added that in July  he's restructuring his entire agency, "which fits right into my 9 year cycle." By that he means that when he and his brother RIchard founded R/Greenberg Associates in 1977, (with $15,000 in capital) Richard was a designer of movie titles, while Bob was a producer and cameraman. The company has restructured its business model every nine years ever since, going froma computer-assisted film-making company to a digital studio to an interactive advertising agency, and, presently, to an advertising agency with a digital focus. What's next? "Just like Apple no longer uses the word "computers" in its title, we're going to lose the word 'agency' from ours,Greenberg said. He talked about "new architecture of the 21st century company" but was a bit cagey about what the new company (not agency) will look like. When asked if creatives and technologists would be paired instead of the traditional art director and writers, he said, "we're going back to the future. We don't make a distinction between creatives and technologists. Every body does everything in teams. It's all about serving the consumer and helping people get better. But pairing a writer with an art director feels like a nice place to start."

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