Creativity 50 2015

Creativity 50 2015: Rachel Tipograph

Digital Marketer, Infomercial Innovator

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Rachel Tipograph
Rachel Tipograph Credit: Rashid Zakat
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Rachel Tipograph was global director of social and digital marketing at the Gap when she was charged with building the e-commerce business.

She tried promotional emails and retargeted digital display, which she calls "the most annoying things on the internet." Then video, which worked, but best when professionally produced at costs too high to be practical. Then she studied infomercials, an industry still growing with boomers but largely irrelevant to millennials -- or the Gap.

She was inspired to launch her own venture to reinvent infomercials for "the iPhone generation." Ms. Tipograph turned to improv comedians to develop content for MikMak, an app that delivers 30-second "minimercials" for non-apparel products under $100. Apple pegged it one of its top new apps within 48 hours of its June launch, and it has millennials watching on average 15 ads back-to-back when they log in. She's landed work from Mondelez and GE, the latter using minimercials to sell light bulbs. And L'Oréal USA plans to launch a pilot after naming her one of America's top female digital entrepeneurs.

Ad Age: What's your definition of creativity?

Rachel Tipograph: Creativity is a vehicle to make you rethink what you take as fact.

Ad Age: What's the best advice you got when it comes to nurturing your creativity?

Ms. Tipograph: Ignore the naysayers. We gravitate toward creativity because it's the opposite of mundane. If everyone 'likes' your idea, it's not creative.

Ad Age: What's your advice to anyone in a creative slump?

Ms. Tipograph: To change people's behaviors, you have to change the environment. [After leaving the Gap, she traveled the world for 100 days.] Creative sparks happen for me when I'm not in an everyday environment. So when I feel stagnant, I leave the office.