OUR TAKE Matthew Jacobson
Q&A with Matthew Jacobson

With today’s launch of the new DigitasLBi.com, we thought we’d go to Matthew Jacobson, EVP/Global Executive Design Director, the design guru behind our www transformation, to get the inside scoop.

 1)        What was your goal with the new site?

We set out to design a site experience that accurately reflected the clear, chaotic, creative, technological, data-driven, insightful, unique, crazy, calm, and overall inspiring place that 6,000 +/- unicorns get to call home work. It’s an effort to have a web presence that will encourage potential clients and colleagues to reach out, and most importantly gives our current clients and colleagues something to be proud of.

 2)        What are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of the razor sharp, split focus on our work and our culture. We wanted to elevate culture to make both work and culture central to the web experience. So often, agency sites only capture the work, but at its core, DigitasLBi is defined by both of those things. I’m hopeful that by bringing them to the forefront, we will encourage the best advertising professionals to seek out employment with us and in turn embark on their own fulfilling career at DigitasLBi. 

I’m also so proud of my amazing global team, which was spread out across Chicago, New York, London, and Costa Rica, along with helpful assists from San Francisco, Amsterdam, and New Delhi among others. The distance was daunting at first, but thanks to our use of Trello, Slack, and Google Hangouts, the cross-continent collaboration was virtually seamless.


3)        What’s the philosophy behind the In the Wild videos?

DigitasLBi employs dozens of patent holders, hundreds of musicians, thousands of artists, a ridiculously large number of chefs, bakers, writers, poets, triathletes, dancers, tumblers, actors, comedians, a few tattoo artists, a couple race car drivers and Grammy winners, a world-champion stone skipper, an Olympic ice skater, a magician, and many more. The agency not only embraces these passions, but encourages them, because we believe that the perspective of well-rounded, unique and experienced individuals can only improve upon the work we do for our clients. Our “In the Wild” video series highlights some of our people pursuing a passion outside of work. 


4)        Where did the idea for the city unicorns come from?

The unicorn has become a part of the very fabric of our agency. There isn’t an office I’ve been to worldwide that hasn’t embraced these mythical creatures. They appear on desks, screensavers, drawn on cakes and cupcakes, carved out of wood, etched in metal. There’s probably very little you could show me with a unicorn that I’ve not seen since we introduced this as the symbol for the agency four years ago. In an effort to kick it up a notch, we created a bespoke unicorn for each of our many offices. These unicorns take on recognizable attributes of their respective city. For example, London is a double decker bus, Atlanta is a peach, Zurich is chocolate, Sydney is a Koala, and Detroit is Robocop! I’m not going to list them all, as there are roughly 40 of them, but you really need to check them out.

5)        What’s the Yearbook feature?

One thing the world doesn’t need is another social network, so we’ve gone and made our own – sort of. What we call the “Yearbook” is essentially a splash page. It allows us to feature a new piece of work or culture every day of the week. These could be a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at a large project, a window into an office meeting or conference, or a small project we otherwise might not have on the site. And to keep with our work/culture split focus, every Monday we will show in high speed how a different “unicorn” gets to work throughout the world, and on weekends we’ll showcase what some of us do on days off.


Matthew Jacobson, EVP/Global Executive Design Director