We are hundreds of creative minds, collaborating together in sunny Santa Monica, California — where we’ve been based, and independently-led and -owned, for 30 years. We are driven by a mission to create ideas and experiences that put “People First,” within a culture that values our own people and empowers them to create best-in-class work. It’s a unique culture that nurtures enduring relationships — with our people and our client partners.


OUR CLIENTS

As an independent, full-service, holistic advertising agency, we're attracted to brands with a beating heart.
honda farmers la-z-boy


WHAT WE BELIEVE

In a word (well, two words), we believe in People First.

Whether you call it a philosophy, a positioning, a mission, or a manifesto, it amounts to the same thing: an approach to our work, our people, and our clients that has guided us since the beginning. And always will.


We’re not saying we invented this way of thinking. But it is written into our DNA.


PEOPLE FIRST, APPLIED

 
PEOPLE FIRST FOR OUR CLIENTS

We connect brands with people, and people with brands. And in doing so, we help our clients drive business success. We are attracted to brands with a beating heart and a greater purpose in the world — brands composed of people who truly care about those they serve, and who share our belief in valuing those on staff.

PEOPLE FIRST FOR OUR ASSOCIATES

We have a culture that values and supports our people, their lives and their professional growth. We believe we work best when we work together, leaving titles and disciplines at the door. We work to create truly integrated teams, and empower them to solve our clients’ business challenges in exciting and unprecedented ways.

PEOPLE FIRST FOR OUR WORK

We create ideas and experiences that resonate with people. Things people want to share, talk about, and engage with. We demand work that respects our audience’s time, attention and intelligence. We look at each opportunity through the “People Lens” — a fancy way of saying that we place ourselves in the lives of the people on the other end of an experience or a piece of brand communication. We hold our work to a higher standard than any industry award: the human standard.

PEOPLE FIRST FOR THE FUTURE

Change can be confusing and disruptive, but the one thing that never changes is our mission to understand and influence human behavior. As technology, client expectations, business models, and media channels change — focusing on “People First” is what keeps us relevant, successful and ahead of the curve.


PEOPLE FIRST, IN ACTION

 
SINCE THE BEGINNING

This philosophy has been core to the agency since we were first founded in 1986. When our founders, Gerry Rubin and Larry Postaer, told the Japanese president of Honda back then that they were purchasing the agency in order to take it independent in the best interests of Honda as a client, his response was, “I don’t care about the name on the door. I care about the people behind the door.”

COMPANIES DON’T HIRE COMPANIES — PEOPLE HIRE PEOPLE

At the end of the day, our client relationships are just that — relationships between two groups of people that have decided to work together. Without respect for the people on both sides, nothing works. We’re very proud of the long-standing relationships with so many of our clients, and they’re a testament to the power of our people.

PEOPLE SEEM TO REALLY LIKE IT HERE

You can tell, because so many of them have stuck around for so long. In fact, a lot of our senior leadership started their careers at RPA. In an industry known for high turnover, people at RPA seem to recognize the value of an environment that truly wants to support our associate’s lives and career growth.

PUTTING OUR AUDIENCE BEFORE THE MEDIA

A few years ago, we realized that our Media Planning and Buying teams were, by definition, focusing on the wrong thing — the media, instead of the audience. So now we call our teams Audience Strategy and Investment. Because we’re more successful for our clients when we lead with a focus on the audience we’re trying to reach, instead of starting with the media channels.


PEOPLE FIRST, PRINCIPLES

 
WE SAY “WE”

Because people don’t talk about themselves in the third person, “People First” means that whenever possible, we speak collectively. Not “The agency is,” but “We are.”

WE THINK “CONSUMER” IS A DIRTY WORD

Before we’re purchasers, we’re people. Parents and children, neighbors and friends, colleagues and lovers and bandmates. Creating ideas that resonate with people starts with seeing the world through their eyes. And calling them “consumers” dehumanizes them. Quit saying it and try saying “people” instead. It’s almost always more appropriate.

WE’RE AN OPEN BOOK — AND OPEN SOURCE

We have walls, but not boundaries — we welcome passionate discussion and transparency. And because “People First” is a framework and not a doctrine, we invite every associate to embrace and truly make it their own.

WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED

“People First” is a point of view that informs and guides everything we do at RPA, and has since we were founded. What’s written above is just a start. Think about what it means to you, what we do day-to-day and what we should be doing more of in the future. Because we’re nothing without our people, and everything because of you.