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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : CBNAT JAN-FEB 2013
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 CAMPAIGNBRIEF Sydneyanintegral partofthe empire out what they are good at and how that will translate into the new era, rather than looking at the new era and figuring out what they need to do," he adds. ECD McLeod concurs, stating: "An Achilles heel of many Australian agencies has been their inability to deliver on what they promise in the digital space to clients," before adding, "R/GA is different -- it has a proud culture of being a place where people build things, and an impeccable track record of physically building them." The hiring of local digital experts McLeod and Rowe, along with pro- ducer Chris Rollings and experi- ence designer Lee Gordon, demon- strates R/GA's desire for strong growth in interface design. The agency also plans to recruit across a wide range of disciplines in 2013, from technology, creative and pro- duction, right through to experts in commerce, mobile and digital retail. Managing director and long time R/GA staffer Ameer Youssef has also been brought out to Sydney to help build the team, until he finds a long-term replacement. Both McLeod and Rowe are happy to have a direct link into the R/GA global culture through Youssef -- or as McLeod offers, "a shortcut pass to the person who can make the call" -- as they set up to strengthen their local offering. "Being part of a team from day one is a rare and exciting opportu- nity and it's a great initial team to be sharing the experience with," states Rowe. "Whilst we're a 'start- up' R/GA works as a genuine net- work," he says. "In the team's first weeks we've collaborated with teams from Austin, New York, Buenos Aires and Singapore and this ability to do work so fluidly across offices is no accident." According to Rowe, the response to R/GA establishing a presence in Australia has been positive from both a client and agency perspec- tive. "Anecdotally, I feel the indus- try has reached a consensus that there's a need to change the way we approach our work," he says. "Given time, I believe R/GA can make a substantial contribution to helping shape the local industry by continuing with its record of for- ward thinking." Buying into the R/GA philosophy that argues in today's market, the object you sell is less important than the experience attached to it, Rowe generally groups experiences into two broad categories; useful and entertaining, yet he admits that it's a spectrum and there's often overlap. "People will choose experiences that are relevant, useful and a nat- ural extension of their existing behavior. Things that fit into the flow of people's lives seamlessly. Simple focused experiences that provide a clear benefit are more likely to succeed," he explains. "On the other end of the spectrum, you've got entertainment experi- ences which comes down to quality. It's tough to compete against popu- lar culture so it's great if you can leverage existing entertainment properties." Without a doubt, the other most challenging demand set to any cre- ative today, McLeod admits, is chartering the dangerous territory of putting technology and creativity first before the brief, which he says, ultimately leads to the risk of an agency losing sight of the client's objectives and the customer's expe- rience. "Great creatives will always reach for the stars and great agencies will always try to find a way to make the impossible happen," he says, adding: "This is particularly true in the digital space where there is an unrelenting pressure to innovate with technology." "Because of this, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of the business objectives or worse, the customer experience. While in the short term this may help the agency win plenty of accolades, in the long term it invariably leads to a breakdown in trust between agency and client." One of McLeod's most important functions is to provide sanity checks throughout the creative process to ensure this doesn't occur. "Clients have to have complete faith that I have their best interests at heart and my team has to trust that I'm mak- ing the right calls. It's not always easy to do! But, it's my job to ensure our ideas always meet the business challenges and have the simplest, most intuitive and elegant interfaces we can design." When asked what the main point of difference R/GA will offer to the local market, McLeod explains the structure of the agency (which trademarked the line 'The Agency of the Digital Age') is in direct con- trast to that of a traditional agency model. With R/GA, it's a question of who is the right person within the global network to work on the job, a decision non-dependant on where that person is based. Building an agency from the ground up in a network with a cul- ture of resilience, regardless of loca- tion, is what McLeod and Rowe both look forward to. With the opportunity to go from a small team to a thriving business -- as was the case of R/GA San Paola, which grew from six people to 30 in the space of a year -- the bar is set high for the new agency in town and needless to say; the industry is watching this space. Experience designer Lee Gordon, producer Chris Rollings, ECD Gavin McLeod, acting MD Ameer Youssef and CD Joshua Rowe CD Joshua Rowe and ECD Gavin McLeod: "An Achilles heel of many Australian agencies has been their inability to deliver on what they promise in the digital space to clients," says McLeod
CBAT NOV DEC 2012
Campaign Brief May-June 2013