Jason Zada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jason Zada
ResidenceMill Valley, California
EmployerTool of North America (2009–2014)
Known for
  • spyplane.com (1997–1999) (co-founder)
  • Evolution Bureau (2000–2008) (co-founder)
Notable work

Jason Zada is an American film director, music video director, screenwriter and digital marketeer, best known for Elf Yourself, an interactive viral holiday season campaign for OfficeMax,[1][2] and for Take This Lollipop, an interactive horror short film created to raise awareness of the danger of placing too much personal information online.[3]


Zada was born in California and moved to Hawaii when he was 10 years old.[4] His interest in video and computers started when he was a young boy. When he was 8 years old, he created short films on a Super 8 camera and programmed text adventure games on a Commodore 64 personal computer.[4][5] He received a media arts education at Kalaheo High School in Kailua, Hawaii.[4] Returning to the continental US, he worked in Los Angeles and New York City before moving to San Francisco in 1993. Not a fan of organized education, Zada declined scholarships to film school, preferring to go out and learn things on his own.[4] In 1997, he and co-founder Greg Hipwell launched the website skyplane.com,[6] which was acquired by Zefer in 1999.[4]

Zada currently lives in Mill Valley, California, with his wife and children.[4]


In 2000, Zada and partner Daniel Stein co-founded the San Francisco-based digital advertising agency Evolution Bureau (EVB). The company's growth as a full-service agency allowed him, as the firm's Executive Creative Director,[2] to direct advertising campaigns for clients for television and the internet. In 2006, Omnicom Group bought a 50% interest in the firm.[4] By 2008, EVB had grown to a 65-person company and Zada allowed Omnicom to acquire a majority stake in the company, and at the end of 2008, Zada left the company to pursue a career as a video and film director.[1] Zada signed with film production company Tool of Northern America (TNA)[7] in January 2009 and commutes between his Mill Valley home and Los Angeles.[8]


In 2006, Zada and Evolution Bureau, in collaboration with advertising company "Toy." of New York,[2][4] developed the Elf Yourself interactive holiday viral marketing campaign for OfficeMax. The Elf Yourself interactive website allows visitors to upload pictures of themselves, or their friends, which they can then see on the dancing elfs.[9] Originally with only one elf, the campaign was first used during the holiday season, beginning in November 2006,[2] and returned each holiday season afterwards. When first released, it was a surprise hit and exceeded production's expectations with more than 194 million views in six weeks,[10] and received the interactive involvement of more than 123 million people who uploaded photos of themselves to be seen on the Christmas elves.[11] Beginning in 2007, the site used four elves and viewers could upload different images for each one.[2]

In 2011, Zada wrote and directed Take This Lollipop as both an interactive horror short film and a Facebook application, using the Facebook Connect app to allow viewers to bring themselves into the film using pictures and messages from their own Facebook profile.[3][12] Originally intended as a social experiment, Zada admits he "threw the script together"[13] in approximately 30 minutes, and completed the project in four weeks along with developer Jason Nickel and the collaborative efforts of Tool of North America.[13] In November, 2011, "Take This Lollipop" was noted as the fastest-growing Facebook application.[13][14]

Zada TNA worked with Australia's Tourism Victoria and directed the crowdfunded "Remote Control Tourist" which, over a five-day period in October 2013, allowed potential Melbourne visitors to virtually explore the city using social media.[15] Zada stated "Hundreds of photos, videos, and data will come to life and give anyone who is thinking of visiting or is currently visiting Melbourne the coolest and most interesting way to research and explore the city."[16]

Zada helmed the 2016 film The Forest.[17] Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney starred,[18][19] and Focus Features has the North American distribution rights to the film,[20][21] which was Zada's feature film directorial debut.[17]


In speaking toward Elf Yourself in his book Adland: Searching for the Meaning of Life on a Branded Planet, author James P. Othmer called it "a strange, corny, yet enormously successful website."[22] He observed that while 19 other sites created for OfficeMax had modest success, it was "nothing like the level of action that came out of the Elf Yourself site,"[22] and that, as created by Zada, the site "not only transcended the online genre; it transcended advertising and became the kind of cultural event that marketers dream of". [22]

Zada's Take This Lollipop project has been the recipient of positive media attention, receiving national publicity, such as in Adland,[23] Brandchannel,[24] CNN,[25][26] IndieWire,[3] Forbes,[27] Digital Trends,[28] Adweek,[29] The Star-Ledger,[30] GlobalPost,[31] The New York Times,[32] Advertising Age,[33] and has garnered international attention with coverage by newspapers and magazines including the Daily Mail,[34] The Sydney Morning Herald.[12] 20minutes,[35] Sky Italia,[36] Les Numeriques,[37] TendanceOuest,[38] Stern Magazine,[39] Site Oueb.[40] and International Business Times,.[41] The project has sparked discussions over how to protect children when they are using the internet, with coverage from The New Zealand Herald,[42] CNN,[26] and Persoenlich.[43] In a commentary on how parents must educate their children about the dangers inherent in a releasing of personal information about themselves to the internet, CNN reported that the film took the worst fears about posting personal information on the internet, and turned them into "two minutes of horror."[25] and later reported that "Behind the litany of frightening facts and figures (not to mention fears like those preyed upon in viral-video Take This Lollipop, an interactive horror film that incorporates text and images from your Facebook profile) lurks a disturbing truth."[26]

Zada has won over 70 industry awards and has been recognized by Adweek, Creativity Magazine, Shoot Magazine, Communication Arts, The New York Times, Contagious Magazine as well as many other magazines, newspapers and books.[7]

Partial awards and nominations[edit]

Take This Lollipop
Remote Control Tourist
  • 2013, won Favourite Website Awards 'site of the day'[60]
  • 2013, won Bronze Award for 'Technical Achievement' at SXSW[61][62]
  • 2014, won Gold Prix awards for 'Direct Content'[63] and for 'Branded Content & Entertainment'[64] at Singapore's Spikes Asia Festival
  • 2014, won 'Best in Show' and two Gold Awards ('Interactive Film' and for 'Creative Innovation'), two Silver Awards ('Branded Content' and 'Digital Campaign'), and seven Bronze Awards in several 'film and video and digital' categories from the 'Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association'[65][66]
  • 2014, won Webby Award for 'Best Social Media Campaign'[67]
  • 2014, won five 'Bronze Cyber Lions' awards at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.[68]
  • 2014, won 'The Innovation Award', and award for 'Most Effective Use of Content', as well as commendations 'Art Direction', 'Branded Content', 'Data Visualisation', and for 'Digital Website & Microsites' ADMA awards from Australian Creativity & Effectiveness Awards for Marketing, Media, & Advertising[69]
  • 2014, won Gold 'Best Content Creation Award' at C Squared Festival of Media[70]
  • 2014, won first place 'Innovation Award' from F.I.T.C.[71]
  • 2014, won 'Advertising Annual Award for Digital Advertising' from Communication Arts[72]
  • 2012, won 'Next Award', category 'Experimental' from Association of Independent Commercial Producers[73]


  1. ^ a b Aditham, Kiran (August 26, 2008). "Jason Zada Leaves EVB". Creativity Magazine. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nelson, Matthew G. (November 26, 2007). "Dancing Elf Video Site Back for a Second Year". ClickZ. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Indiewire staff (October 20, 2011). "Interview: Jason Zada, The Director Behind That Creepy "Take This Lollipop" Website". IndieWire. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Parpis, Eleftheria (May 8, 2008). "Jason Zada Profile". Adweek. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  5. ^ Zada, Jason. "Jason Zada Bio+Press". Jason Zada. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  6. ^ Meece, Mickey (September 10, 1998). "N GRAB; Unusual Characters Converge at Spiff". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b "Tool Signs Award-Winning Director Jason Zada". Trust Collective. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  8. ^ Zada, Jason. "Jason Zada". jasonzada.com. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  9. ^ Roberts, Caroline (December 24, 2006). "Go Elf Yourself!". Bostonist. Archived from the original on November 3, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  10. ^ Ford, Rob (September 8, 2010). "Jason Zada - Tool". Favorite Website Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  11. ^ "Elf Yourself". Elf Yourself for OfficeMax. Evolution Bureau. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  12. ^ a b Grubb, Ben (October 21, 2011). "Facebook 'horror movie' cyber-stalk alarm". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Erickson, Christine (November 11, 2011). "World's Fastest-Growing Facebook App Will Scare the Crap Out of You". Mashable. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  14. ^ Ward, Brian. "Facebook's Fastest Growing App Is Take This Lollipop". November 9, 2011. allfacebook.com. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  15. ^ staff (October 9, 2013). "Ask 'Remote Control' Explorers to Check Out Melbourne for You". Ad Age. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  16. ^ Champagne, Christine (October 9, 2013). "Experience Melbourne From Your Couch Through These Remoe Control Tourists". Fast Company. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (November 5, 2013). "Lava Bear Sets Jason Zada To Helm David Goyer-Hatched 'The Forest': Video". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave (October 21, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' Actress Natalie Dormer Joins Supernatural Thriller 'The Forest'". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  19. ^ The Forest Attracts Game of Thrones Star Michiel Huisman from February 2015
  20. ^ Kit, Borys (May 22, 2014). "Focus Picks Up David Goyer Supernatural Thriller 'The Forest'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  21. ^ McNary, Dave (May 23, 2014). "David Goyer's 'The Forest' Gets North American Distribution". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c Othmer, James P. (2009). Adland: Volume 48, Developments in biological standardization. Volume 48: Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 243–250. ISBN 038552496X.
  23. ^ Wäppling, Åsk Dabitch (October 17, 2011). "Take this lollipop - I double dare you". Adland.
  24. ^ Shayon, Sheila (October 18, 2011). "Take This Lollipop Spooks Facebook Users". Brandchannel. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  25. ^ a b Gross, Doug (October 28, 2011). "Interactive video turns Facebook fears into 2 minutes of horror". CNN. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  26. ^ a b c Steinberg, Scott (November 10, 2011). "Kids and technology: The new rules of online safety". CNN. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  27. ^ Hill, Kashmir (October 18, 2011). "'Take This Lollipop' And Get Your Very Own Creepy Facebook Stalker". Forbes. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  28. ^ McHugh, Molly. "Take This Lollipop makes Facebook stalking personal – and horrifying". October 18, 2011. Digital Trends. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  29. ^ Nudd, Tim (October 18, 2011). "'Take This Lollipop' Gives You a Lovely Facebook Stalker". Adweek. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  30. ^ Venutolo, Anthony (October 27, 2011). "Get creeped out: 'Take This Lollipop' site going viral". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  31. ^ Karimjee, Mariya (October 27, 2011). "'Take This Lollipop' to get a personalized Facebook stalker". GlobalPost. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  32. ^ Wortham, Jenna (October 18, 2011). "Mysterious Site Creates a Horror Movie, Starring You". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  33. ^ Gale, Porter (October 24, 2011). "How Jason Zada Created Facebook's Scariest Viral Sensation: TakeThisLollipop.com". Advertising Age. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  34. ^ Gayle, Damien (October 28, 2011). "Reading you like an open Facebook? Spooky interactive video mines social network to show risks of sharing personal details online". Daily Mail. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  35. ^ P.B. (October 19, 2011). "Take this lollipop: Votre cauchemar Facebook devenu réalité". 20minutes (in French). Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  36. ^ Ferrando, Floriana (October 28, 2011). "Take This Lollipop e Facebook diventa un thriller". Sky Italia (in Italian). Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  37. ^ Thuret, Romain (October 28, 2011). "Take This Lollipop : le serial killer de Facebook est à votre porte". Les Numeriques (in French). Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  38. ^ staff (November 30, 2011). "Découvrez l'application Facebook qui fait trembler Internet". Tendanceouest (in French). Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  39. ^ Fröhlich, Christoph (December 6, 2011). "Lutscher wird zum Facebook-Schocker". Stern (in German). Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  40. ^ staff (December 6, 2011). "Take This Lollipop - le serial killer de Facebook buzz sur Internet". Site Oueb (in French). Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  41. ^ staff (October 18, 2011). "'Take This Lollipop' to Meet your Facebook Stalker 'Take This Lollipop' to Meet your Facebook Stalker". International Business Times. Retrieved May 28, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  42. ^ Johnson, Chloe (December 4, 2011). "Site gives mum rude awakening". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  43. ^ von Matt, Jung (December 7, 2011). "Austausch mit US-Digital-Cracks: Interview zu Facebook-Round-Table in New York". Persoenlich (in German). Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  44. ^ Pathak, Shareen (July 5, 2012). "Creativity 50: Jason Zada, Director, Tool". Ad Age. Archived from the original on October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  45. ^ "2012 SXSWi winners". SXSW. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  46. ^ "Awards 2012, Winners". D&AD. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  47. ^ "2012 ANDY Shortlist". Andy Award. Archived from the original on April 29, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  48. ^ "16th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners". Webby Awards. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  49. ^ "16th Annual Webby Awards Nominees - Viral". Webby Awards. Archived from the original on April 12, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  50. ^ "16th Annual Webby Awards Nominees - Experimental and Weird". Webby Awards. Archived from the original on April 12, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  51. ^ "16th Annual Webby Awards Nominees - Viral Marketing". Webby Awards. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  52. ^ "2012 Clio Award winners". Clio Awards. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  53. ^ "2012 One Show Interactive Gold Pencil". One SHow. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  54. ^ "91st Annual ADC Awards" (PDF). Art Directors Club. Archived from the original (PDF download) on May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  55. ^ "2012 Daytime Emmy Awards - 'New Approaches - Daytime Entertainment'". Daytime Emmy Awards. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  56. ^ "2012 nominees: Integrated Campaign". AICP. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  57. ^ "2012 nominees: Website/Microsite". AICP. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  58. ^ "2012 nominees: Cause Marketing". AICP. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  59. ^ "2012 nominees: Social". AICP. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  60. ^ staff. "SITE OF THE DAY NOVEMBER 16 2013". Favourite Website Awards. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  61. ^ "2013 SXSW finalists". SXSW. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  62. ^ staff (March 12, 2014). "Tourism Vic and AFP pick up gongs at SXSW Interactive Awards". Ad News. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  63. ^ staff. "Spikes Asia 2014 'Direct' winner". Spikes Asia. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  64. ^ staff. "Spikes Asia 2014 'Branded Content & Entertainment' winner". Spikes Asia. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  65. ^ Denis Napthine, Premier of Victoria (March 28, 2014). "Melbourne Remote Control Tourist receives top industry accolade". Travel and Tour World. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  66. ^ staff. "35th A.W.A.R.D. awards winners announced" (PDF). Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association (AWARD). Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  67. ^ "18th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners". Webby Awards. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  68. ^ staff (June 19, 2014). "Cyber Lions: Australia scores 10 Bronze Lions". Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  69. ^ staff. "2014 ADMA Awards winners". Australian Creativity & Effectiveness Awards for Marketing, Media, & Advertising. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  70. ^ staff. "Festival of Media, Global - 2014 Winners and Shortlist". C Squared Festival of Media. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  71. ^ staff. "2014 FITC Winners". Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  72. ^ staff. "2014 Winners". Communication Arts. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  73. ^ Association of Independent Commercial Producers (June 10, 2014). "2014 AICP Awards". Shoot. Retrieved October 30, 2014.

External links[edit]