2 Minutes With ... Jeremy Jones, Global Group Creative Director at Mailchimp

On 'Guess Less, Sell More' and Wink

Jeremy is a media-agnostic marketer, writer and a former global executive creative director at J. Walter Thompson. Currently, he's the global GCD for email and marketing automation platform Mailchimp, helping build and scale its in-house brand experience team, Wink.

For more than a decade, Jeremy has helped brands accelerate growth through digital business transformation ideas, new technologies and content. He's responsible for one of the top product launches in the history of SXSW, Mario Karting Reimagined. His work has been honored by major award shows, with coverage in publications like Fast Company and Wired. Jeremy has also made appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

We spent two minutes with Jeremy to learn more about his background, creative inspirations and some recent work he's admired.

Jeremy, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up on the gulf coast of Florida, just north of Clearwater Beach in a town called New Port Richey, which was supposed to be the next Hollywood in the '20s and '30s before a hurricane wiped away those plans. But as a kid in the '80s and '90s it was a great place to grow up. I spent lots of days fishing, skateboarding, skimboarding and playing in really terrible emo bands.

Now I live in Atlanta, the city in the forest. Where I eat lemon pepper chicken wings, fly fish on the Chattahoochee, and enjoy all of the fickle weather we have alongside my wife, two kids and doggos.

How you first realized you were creative?

I think it was in middle school once I started playing in bands. Jamming with other kids to write songs, writing lyrics to tell a story, designing your own posters and printing them in clever ways with a Xerox machine, and then coming up with ideas to promote yourself to get booked. It was a ton of fun and I really loved the process and the connection it created between everyone in the band and the community.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

I don't know if this qualifies, but I wanted to be Dan Marino, the quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. From third grade through high school I played QB and I tried so hard to emulate his style of play and admired how smart he was on the field, from the plays he called at the line of scrimmage to the way he commanded the offense. To me, it was a work of art.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

This is an easy one. In high school, I met my wife and I wouldn't be where I am today without her. She keeps me grounded and balanced. Plus she’s so much smarter than me so it’s nice to have a scholar and educator in the family.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

A tough question to answer, butI’d say, lyrically I’ve always been blown away by Del The Funky Homosapian. And from a band standpoint I’d have to go with the '90s emo outfit Mineral. So amazing live.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

Mailchimp puts out a ton of great content under the Mailchimp Presents umbrella, including podcasts and video collections. We recently released Sonic Symbolism, a Björk podcast that explores the ins and outs of her music in conversation with Oddný Eir and Ásmundur Jónsson. As a music lover myself, I've really enjoyed listening as they unpack her creative genius. It is a truly inspiring and awesome overview of what went into each of her albums. 

Your favorite fictional character.

Alf, the alien from Melmac who often tried to eat cats, is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. My old creative partner and I found him to be a hilarious muse and once wrote a pilot episode where we attempted to bring him back. Looking back, we should probably dig that back up and get to work pitching it to a streaming platform.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

I use a lot of my social platforms to help me curate culture. I'd say one that I'm always intrigued by would be @dusttodigital on Instagram which collects a bunch of different sound cultures from all over the world. It truly is fascinating to learn what people have used throughout time in different parts of the planet to make music.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

Covid coincided literally to the day my agency chapter closed and my in-house adventure began. Professionally, I learned how to build and foster a team from scratch remotely without having those micro-office moments we use to be able to count on day in and day out. 

Covid also brought on some much needed family time. I missed out on a lot of valuable time spent with them over the years working agency side and traveling a bunch. So Covid and my new work from home lifestyle has given me a lot more balance and helped me recover some of that lost time.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on, and why.

Growing up as the son of a race car driver I'd have to say my all time favorite work was the Joyride film series I created for Pennzoil while at J. Walter Thompson. I basically got to live out my childhood fantasies by shooting six of the most amazing vehicles on the planet while working with my favorite precision drivers, car makers and other automotive enthusiasts to push cars to their limits on some of the most amazing race circuits, landscapes, and city streets across the world. They were basically product demos disguised as action-packed car films. We even got a note on LinkedIn from Christopher Nolan on how much of a fan he was. Here are three of my favorites in order of story:

A recent project you're proud of, and why.

At Mailchimp our in-house creative team is still in the early stages, but I'm super proud of the most recent campaign we did. This year as we took a monumental step forward in launching our first truly global ad campaign, "Guess Less, Sell More." This is also our first campaign as Intuit Mailchimp, and working with a new marketing team under our new moniker, Wink.

Guess Less, Sell More is a campaign that illuminates how easy it is for advanced marketers and SMBs to "take the guesswork" out of their marketing strategy when using Mailchimp. The campaign also presented a unique challenge to the in-house design team; tasked with bringing a fresh vibe to its fall campaign that was "elevated" and "sophisticated," while staying true to the quirky and expertly absurd characteristics of a brand like Mailchimp. We're super proud of how well this developed and grateful for the creative freedom and expert input we got along the way.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

One of my favorite all-time ads is "Mr. Wind." I would share it with my creative teams and even used it in my lessons while teaching at the Creative Circus. And this year it was a full circle moment for me as the team and I got to shoot our Mailchimp campaign with Björn Rühmann (one half of the Vikings Duo) that shot that ad and brought the "Mr. Wind" advert to life.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

I love everything that the Liquid Death team is doing. All of their work is so on-brand and appeals to my punk rock roots and skateboarding days. I love how they embrace all things counter-culture around them while selling a shit ton of water to boot. No one saw them coming and I hope they takeover the entire category one aggressively branded recyclable aluminum can at a time. 

Your main strength as a creative person.

I have a lot of passion for what I do. I know I may not be the best writer or creative in the world, but I'm super competitive and hungry and I have an insatiable drive to keep at it. Always thinking, always trying to solve business problems, and beat what we’ve done before. And I ultimately believe that passion can trump talent.

Your biggest weakness. 

Patience. I always want to do things and solve problems immediately. My impulse is to quickly put ideas out in the world and see what sticks, learn, adapt and try again. That works a lot of the time, but maybe not all the time. Like a good loaf of bread, sometimes things take time and I need to learn to embrace that more. Or just eat less bread.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Fly fishing in the North Georgia Mountains. It’s my happy place. 

One thing that always makes you sad.

Lost animals.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

I'd most likely be working in the music industry somewhere.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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