30-year-old Doug Jaeger is not one to sit still with his ideas. By 24, he was an interactive creative director at JWT, after which he moved to TBWA/Chiat/Day/N.Y. and helped to spin off their interactive company Tequila. Now, he's launched his own gig at TheHappyCorp Global, an umbrella organization to a string of creative entities: Aaarrrr, a creative services arm, t-shirt e-commerce site Dooker.com, and the Live Hard Foundation, aka LVHRD, a 2000 member invite-only creative networking group that brings together players from a spectrum of disciplines to challenge their creative prowess in areas outside their respective comfort zones. TheHappyCorp also recently partnered with Australian design mavens Design is Kinky to host the Semi-Permanent conference, a forum that showcased major players in art, design and architecture. Himself a product of technology, art and marketing, Jaeger shares some of his views on what it means to be a creative today.
C What is TheHappyCorp Global?
DJ The vision of TheHappyCorp Global was never to be an agency. We have decided that we want to work on projects that mean to do good for everybody. We try to work with people who are creating things to solve problems, as opposed to taking projects because of money, or because they suit our skill sets. In a lot of ways we approach people as partners, and in a lot of cases our projects involve starting companies of our own.
C How do you work with agencies?
DJ We work with ad agencies as part consultant, so someone will come to us and we'll help them pitch like a creative team, but we have the ability to produce work across the spectrum. We've been working with agencies like Kaplan Thaler, JWT, Ogilvy & Mather-they'll hire us in to a lot of times to stimulate their creative department to think in different ways, because of what our company is capable of doing-events, design, print ads, motion graphics.
C What's your view on the role of the creative today?
DJ The creatives we're looking for now are people that natively understand how to put things on the internet. If you know that, then you're valuable. It's not the creative director sitting in his ivory tower deciding what is good and what is bad. There are so many agency people who are excited about what they're working on for six months, and it never sees the light of day. I think the new creative is out there today and has their own personal success. There's no reason why you can't just do something interesting that gets traffic. Because traffic is an audience and an audience is valuable.
C Do you think that it's possible for creativity to flourish in an agency setting?
DJ I just think that the cube farm is not an awesome place to come up with ideas. We think it is important for people in general to be around people that you like, and who inspire you, and who are accomplishing things. The old agency model to me is a lot of wasted time. The stuff we're doing is happening really fast. You do something on a Friday, see the results on Monday and build from there.
C People sometimes call TheHappyCorp a design/branding firm. What kind of role does design play in your work?
DJ Design is really, really important. A lot of our clients come to us for logos first. Right now we're branding a self-published woman who is writing books about breast feeding. We told her that her books would sell better if they looked better. In the first day, she did more than six times the sales she had done, ever. The first thing she bought was a logo.