Mike X

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Mike X
Mike X, Los Angeles, 2022
  • Entrepreneur, Author, motivational speaker, content creator
Known forEntrepreneurship, Motivational speaking, Content Creation, Filmmaking, Marketing, Directing TV Commercials, Brand Management, Design, Advertising
TikTok information
Followers250 thousand
Likes800 thousand

Last updated: May 10, 2023
Mike X
Personal information
Michael X Franzini
YouTube information
Years active2020 - Present
GenrePersonal Development

Michael X Franzini, known professionally as Mike X[1] is an American entrepreneur, author, and content creator based in Venice Beach.

On March 28, 2023, he released Your Best Life: Tactics, Tools and Insights to Create a Life of Fulfillment, Joy and Abundance, a personal development book in the vein of Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins.

He previously ran X-UP, a creative firm with offices in LA, Austin and New York. Current and past clients include Google, MTV, Panasonic, Rock the Vote, Walmart, and Partnership for a Drug Free America.[2]


Mike X regularly releases personal development videos on his TikTok and publishes related articles on his blog.

MTV Partnership[edit]

Michael X Franzini's work with MTV has won numerous nominations and two Emmies.[3][4]

To address young people's lack of awareness of the Holocaust,[5] Franzini partnered with MTV and the creative group at Arnold Worldwide and Crispin Porter + Bogusky behind the Truth anti-tobacco campaign to make the Holocaust more relevant to American teens today. He created a series of TV spots that portray events from the Holocaust taking place in a modern setting. Each spot ends with a freeze-frame that dissolves to an actual historical black and white photograph from the Holocaust.[6]

To combat teens' indifference to the threat of STD's,[7] Franzini and MTV created a campaign in which teens were shown recklessly refusing protection in non-sexual contexts, such as riding a roller coaster and going shark diving.[8]

The New York Times quoted Stephen Friedman, now President of MTV,[9] describing Franzini's unique connection with the MTV demographic: "Mike gets our audience."[8]

Work as CEO and Executive Creative Director for nonprofit ad agency Public Interest[edit]

In 1998, along with Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma, the founders of @radical.media, Franzini founded Public Interest, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to creating advertising for good causes, where he managed a staff of more than 50 people.[10][11][12]

Work with Will.i.am[edit]

In 2012, Franzini wrote and directed TV spots featuring Will.i.am to motivate young Americans to get interested in math and science, as a means of addressing America's STEM crisis.[13][14]

Work as organizer of Global Online Town Hall with Al Gore[edit]

On behalf of Time Warner Cable, Franzini organized an online town hall meeting with Al Gore. Franzini wrote talking points for Gore and directed Gore in the one-hour live event.[2][15][16]

Work with Bill and Melinda Gates[edit]

He was Executive Creative Director of the STAND UP Campaign to improve America's education system. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation unveiled the STAND UP Campaign on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 11 & 12, 2006.[17]

Work with Elton John and Mary J Blige[edit]

Michael X Franzini created a campaign entitled "The White Bedroom" featuring Elton John and Mary J Blige, in which real people cast from the sidewalks of New York City sit in a sleek white bedroom and share secrets about their sex lives.[18]

The I KNOW Guerrilla Marketing Campaign[edit]

In possibly the first viral campaign to use currency as its medium, Franzini minted 250,000 coins resembling pennies and entered them into circulation in New York City.[19] He made a X-Up Case Study: Currency as an advertising medium – X-Up: Creative Vision about the campaign.

Rock the Vote Partnership[edit]

Working with Rock the Vote in Los Angeles to shed light on young people's attitudes towards discrimination and bias, Franzini organized a social experiment in which kids at a skate park were segregated by security guards according to eye color. The surprising result was that virtually all of the kids complied without any objection.[20]

In another setting—at a drive-through hot-dog establishment in the San Fernando Valley—Franzini put up signs that read "customers with foreign accents will be charged double" next to the menu board. In this case, the outcome was that no passive bystander (i.e. individual not being charged double) objected to the policy. (The money was returned to the customers after the transaction.)[21]

The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times covered the experiment.[20][22]

GUNPOWDER: The Power of Guayusa[edit]

Franzini founded this company and served as its CEO.[23][24]

Teen lifestyle photography[edit]

Wall-sized prints of his photographs have appeared in retail locations such as Pacific Sunwear, a chain of more than 800 retail stores targeting teens and young adults.[25]

Franzini's photographs documenting American youth culture have also been exhibited at Nike's Beaverton, OR campus and the offices of McCann Erickson J3 in New York City.[26]

His images have appeared in art galleries around the world, including Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art.[27]

Youth culture[edit]

Franzini often speaks and consults on marketing to teens. He delivered the Keynote Address at the Ypulse Youth Mashup, an event for marketers trying to reach young Americans.[28] He also spoke on U.S. youth culture at the Southern Growth Conference, at annual event attended by the governors of 13 Southern States.[29]

Baby photography[edit]

In 2011, Johnson & Johnson hired Michael X Franzini to travel to all 50 states to photograph one baby in each state. Each baby was photographed with one or both parents, sharing a moment of "everyday joy." The book was launched on The View on Mother's Day 2011.[30]

Norman Bus Wrap
A bus wrap created as part of the Norman campaign

Norman, the puppy that moos[edit]

Tim Gill, creator of Quark and founder of the Gill Foundation, gave Franzini a budget of US$1M to "move the needle" on attitudes towards marriage equality, in Colorado Springs, which is widely considered the epicenter of anti-gay sentiment in America, because it is the location of the headquarters of Focus on the Family.[31][32]

Franzini assembled a team that created a fictional dog named Norman, who happened to be born different: instead of barking, he moos. Norman came to life in five TV spots, on billboards, banners on downtown street lamps, yard signs and via guerilla advertising.[32]

The campaign succeeded in changing public opinion and sparked an international controversy and led to an announcement by James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, that he had a dog named Sherman, who barks, because God intended for dogs to bark.[31]

Dobson explained that, if Sherman ever felt tempted to moo, he would take steps to cure himself of this unnatural behavior.[31][32]


Michael X Franzini is the author of the following books:

  • One Hundred Young Americans, published by HarperCollins. The book is a first-hand account of youth culture in America. It profiles one hundred teenagers in all fifty states. More than two hundred images show every kind of teenager from every part of the United States, mirroring census data for gender, race, religion and sexual orientation, balanced across urban, rural, suburban and small-town locations.
  • Wounded Warriors, a photo essay created for the Wounded Warrior Project on soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Young Americans, a glossy 12"x12" coffee table book of images of California teens.
  • "Faces", a collection of images Franzini shot for T-mobile.
  • "Treasuring Everyday Joy", a collection of images Franzini shot for Johnson's Baby in all 50 states.[30]


  1. ^ "Official Bio Page of Mike X". mikex.com/bio.
  2. ^ a b "Tech Coast Angels Portfolio Company, Vokle, Provides Technology Platform for Al Gore... -- IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --". Archived from the original on 2013-12-24.
  3. ^ MTV/"Rollercoaster" EmmyOnline.org 2002 Winners Archived 2006-12-14 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ MTV/"Yellow T-Shirts" EmmyOnline.org Past Winners Archived 2006-12-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "1 in 3 not sure Holocaust was real, U.S. Poll says".
  6. ^ "Arnold's Think.MTV Work Is Chilling, Brilliant". 24 January 2008.
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2012-10-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2012-10-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "MTV Press | Bios |". Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
  10. ^ "Creative Voice - SHOOTonline". Archived from the original on 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  11. ^ "Michael Franzini". March 3, 2016. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  12. ^ Eleftheria Parpis (October 22, 2001). "Making Change". Adweek. Archived from the original on 2013-08-31.
  13. ^ www.whitehouse.gov
  14. ^ "X-Up Case Study: A day with will.i.am – X-UP: Creative Vision".
  15. ^ "News & Social | Time Warner Cable". Archived from the original on 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  16. ^ Petix, James R. (March 10, 2011). "Connect A Million Minds "Global Town Hall Event" with Al Gore" – via Vimeo.
  17. ^ "Campaign Seeks Buy-In for High School Reforms" Archived 2006-06-22 at the Wayback Machine, Education Week, April 19, 2006
  18. ^ "Ads Against AIDS". 17 February 2003.
  19. ^ "Festival news, events calendar, action alerts and screenings". Archived from the original on 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
  20. ^ a b "Skate Fest Offers a Lesson in Bias". Los Angeles Times. December 14, 2003.
  21. ^ "CP+B Attacks Discrimination in L.A. County". 17 December 2003.
  22. ^ Elliott, Stuart (December 15, 2003). "Rock the Vote Tackles Discrimination". The New York Times.
  23. ^ https://www.wsj.com/article_email/young-entrepreneurs-update-tea-time-with-ingredients-like-guayusa-1430322646-lMyQjAxMTI1NzI3OTcyNjkyWj [dead link]
  24. ^ "X-Up Case Study: Gunpowder—The power of guayusa – X-Up: Creative Vision".
  25. ^ "California dreaming" [permanent dead link], VNU eMedia
  26. ^ "Loading..." 100youngamericans.com.
  27. ^ "Michael Franzini: Young Americans". Archived from the original on 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  28. ^ "Blyk Founder Antti Öhrling and Director Michael Franzini to Keynote the Second Annual 2008 Ypulse National Mashup Conference; Event Targets Professionals Who Need to Reach Today's Totally Wired Youth". PRWeb.
  29. ^ "Untitled Document". Archived from the original on 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  30. ^ a b "Lauren Hoffen". Archived from the original on 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  31. ^ a b c The Independent
  32. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2013-09-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]