BIMA is one of the most respected and influential trade associations representing the digital industry. To celebrate its upcoming BIMA 10 Awards, NDA has asked its illustrious judging panel to pick their own digital heroes.
First up, we hear from Stephen Lepitak, UK Bureau Chief, AdWeek.
Who is your digital hero?
Bob Greenberg, Founder and executive chairman of R/GA.
What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?
Where do you begin when it comes to outlining the achievements of Bob Greenberg? I guess I’ll start with what is always the coolest and geekiest – he has won a zillion creative awards but among them is a technical Academy Award – he has an Oscar – because this man has changed film making special effects while working alongside his late brother Richard.
Want to know what movies they worked on? Well together then made the title sequence for Superman (1978) and then went on to design the title sequence for Ridley Scott’s Alien the next year. Iconic!
On top of that they founded one of the world’s top digital innovation businesses on the planet in R\GA which he still is involved with even if it has been to a lessening degree in recent years.
There’s not enough space on the internet to explain the significance of this person to the digital sector, such is his legacy
How has his heroism helped drive digital?
While much of his career has been ‘in digital’ – I don’t believe Bob has ever really been about digital technology. When I’ve met him or interviewed him, he has been obsessive about ideas and creativity. It’s a burning passion and the medium which makes those ideas come to life is just part of the tool kit. The technology doesn’t matter – the importance is that the creative idea is fully realised to its highest potential.
He’s also a restless soul, which is apparent within R\GA which strategically reinvents itself every few years in order not to fall behind the times and remain relevant with its clients. There’s a reason why it’s still the jewel in the crown of agencies owned by Interpublic Group – it is a restless beast of a business that wants to be at the forefront of delivering what’s new but only if it fits the initial vision of the idea. From every conversation I’ve had with him that’s been evident.
Bob also once threatened to throw me out of a moving vehicle too – so that’s another reason the industry should hold him dear.
What are the biggest challenges in media we need another hero to solve?
Media has enough issues for the DC and Marvel universes combined to try and solve. One area I think that continues to be a problem that doesn’t get solved (sorry to be boring) is the need for consistent measurement and determining one metric of success for everyone to agree upon.
And I think that needs to be global as media is now connected worldwide with audiences now seeking content across so many platforms while advertisers chase eyeballs.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I once produced a video interview between Sir Martin Sorrell, the then CEO of WPP, and a heavily pregnant Kim Kardashian which will become an NFT one day I’ll predict.
I also completed The Simpsons arcade game on holiday in the 90s.