R/GA founder Bob Greenberg admits if scam work is innovative judges ‘let it pass’

Bob GreenbergIf scam work entered into awards is innovative enough it can be ok for jurors to let it pass, Bob Greenberg, co-founder of R/GA and a former Cannes Lions jury president, told Mumbrella during a live video hangout.

Greenberg took part in a live video hangout with Mumbrella today  touching on a variety of topics including the future of the industry, the model behind the agency, his views on the future of wearable technology, and his view on award shows and scam advertising.

Greenberg was reflecting on his experiences as a juror at the Cannes Lions, where the Press and Outdoor categories has been the subject of a Mumbrella investigation in recent weeks, noting “that the one thing we know about Cannes is that you can’t win without doing a sophisticated, complicated video”.

“Sometimes we even view, oddly enough, that something may not be real, it still may be very innovative and so we sort of give it a break sometimes based on that, not knowing whether or not it’s completely real and certainly the facts they are stating are questionable, but there’s a lot of innovation.

“If it’s really innovative, and it might have a bed of scam connected to it, we sort of let it pass,” he clarified. “It’s still showing the way forward.”

Responding to a question from social media around digital categories remaining ‘pure’ from scam, Greenberg said it has become more difficult to produce scam digital work.

“In my opinion as a jury president across a number of different categories of Cannes, it used to be that there were more and more scam ads coming in digital than in any other area. They came from Singapore, they came from Brazil, they came from all different spots of the world and we used to look hard at them to see if they were real or not,” he said in response to a question from social media around digital categories remaining ‘pure’ from scam.

“I think what’s changed, and it may not have been noticed in that exact way, is that the digital work has become very integrated and complex so it’s become complicated to create something that is more of a platform in a scammed way. And so, the sort of digital piece fell off because it was a lot easier to do scam ads in broadcast or PR or something else. But I think part of what creates scam ads is the ease in which you can produce them and now digital has become so much more complex to scam.”

When asked about the value he puts on awards Greenberg said they are important as a tool for attracting top talent.

“I think they are very important. I began to think they weren’t so much,” he said. “The biggest thing in the industry right now is talent – and attracting talent and retaining talent comes with awards. So it’s very important from that perspective.

“I think they [awards] have a lot to do with it [attracting talent] and a lot to do with the tracking and retaining of clients as well,” he added.

Attracting talent is one of the biggest challenges faced by R/GA due to staff churn and “millennials” or Gen Y moving and changing jobs very quickly.

“Giving some praise to recruiting, we have an incredible global recruiting team. We have between 25 and 30 recruiters on staff. Some people don’t realise how big an organisation we have because a lot of millennials change out very quickly and then people are always moving around. We need to seek out the best and the brightest and it’s a constant challenge which requires quite a large organisation,” Greenberg said.

Watch the hangout here:

Miranda Ward


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