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245: Creativity, Humor, and Happiness with JibJab’s Mauro Gatti

Mauro Gatti, Chief Creative Officer at JibJab

On this 245th episode of “Marketing Today,” host Alan Hart speaks with Mauro Gatti, the chief creative officer at JibJab. Gatti is driven by his love for creativity and a desire to use that creativity to make the world a better place for all living beings that call this planet home.

We start our conversation by diving into Gatti’s life growing up in Northern Italy, an area full of workaholics, where he began working in his uncle’s butcher shop as a 10-year-old boy. Though he grew up in a small town, Gatti believes that “the best part of Italy is the drive between different cities because there are so many different gems” and “driving around is a great way to discover the real soul of Italy.”

Gatti then discusses his meteoric rise in the creative advertising industry that took him from creating artwork for CDs in Italy to his current position as the chief creative officer for JibJab in Los Angeles, California. “We all have a gift. Maradona had that gift, Michael Angelo had that gift,” and Gatti’s gift is being a creative person. JibJab believes that “creativity can inspire and mobilize people,” an important concept in a year that has brought the world to a halt.

Gatti also discusses The Happy Broadcast project in which he does his best to promote the good things that are happening in the world while media outlets seem only to promote the bad. “The challenge is not to erase the past; it’s just to create a new present!”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Mauro grew up in a small town out in the country in Northern Italy, a very different place than what most people think of Italy. 1:55
  • Growing up in an area where everyone was a workaholic, Mauro’s dad taught him how to make a living at only 10-years-old. 3:00
  • Alan knows first-hand that Italy looks very different depending on where you are, having proposed to his wife there. 5:52
  • Mauro believes that the most amazing part of Italy is the drive between cities because you get to see everything that is not mainstream. 7:10
  • Besides a short time when he wanted to be a doctor, Mauro has always been passionate about commercial design and creativity. 9:08
  • At the age of 15, Mauro created some illustrations for CDs, which was his first creative position. 10:30
  • When most advertising agencies in Europe were still using the same old methods, Mauro saw an opportunity to start a digital advertising agency. 11:23
  • With the creation of the first iPhone, Mauro’s digital agency became one of Italy’s first to create apps. 12:27
  • After spending his entire life in Italy, Mauro decided to move to California to lead Story Bots’ digital expansion. 13:48
  • The creators of Story Bot asked Mauro to work on JibJab before selling the company to Catapult, where he stayed on as Chief Creative Officer. 14:58
  • A variety of different projects provide Mauro with an outlet to express his creativity. 18:09
  • Though it will always be remembered for the dancing elves, JibJab tries to offer consumers a way to connect and share happiness with loved ones. 19:02
  • JibJab believes that there is nothing better than making someone you love happy. 21:20
  • Today, JibJab tries to create content that provides laughter in a year that has seemingly halted life for many people. 22:17
  • Happiness is very subjective, differing in how it shows itself or how it is defined from person to person. 26:01
  • Mauro sees happiness in his work and how it allows him to use his creativity to bring happiness to others. 26:55
  • Every company around the world has had its culture tested this year, with most not working in the office. 29:24
  • Mauro does not believe in motivation, but rather he believes in sharing a vision with his team. 30:18
  • At JibJab, creators have the freedom to do whatever they want within the rules they work under. 32:00
  • A couple of years ago, Mauro decided to start The Happy Broadcast project because of the anxiety that he was getting from the news. 34:13
  • Digging deep to find the good news in the world, Mauro creates basic illustrations to go with them and then posts. 36:40
  • The Happy Broadcast doesn’t just help other people; it helps Mauro stay positive in his world. 39:47
  • Mauro has experienced self-doubts and challenges related to learning about the market when creating children’s books. 41:08
  • Finding a way to continue after his many failures have shaped Mauro into the person that he is today. 45:48
  • Looking back, Mauro wishes he would have cared more about the journey than the result. 48:17
  • Mauro suggests that everyone follows the Human Society because of his love of animals. 55:18
  • After decades of working with marketers, Mauro believes that honesty is the best way to promote a product. 57:29

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