Chops dives headfirst into the new year with a conversation with Jeromie Misenheimer, ECD of Digitas Health. With more than 20 years’ worth of various positions at Digitas under his belt, Misenheimer knows a thing or two, as the saying goes, because he’s…you get the picture. Still, we love starting the new year with a guy who can pull together thoughts on hair bands, LEGOs, softball and Adidas kicks.
So, what do you do all day?
Mostly, I drink tea. But I also do a little bit of staffing, a little bit of strategy, and a little bit of pushing the creative work.
How would you describe life as a creative to someone who’s not familiar with your job?
We get to come up with ideas and try to convince people that they are good ideas. And if we’re lucky, we get to bring an idea to life.
Did you ever think you’d be doing this? If not, what did you think you’d do?
Actually, I knew pretty early — ninth grade, in fact — that I was going into advertising. I was pretty much obsessed with TV commercials. My dad got me a tour of a local ad agency and that was it.
What can you point to in your past and your education that prepared you for this career?
I’d point to my dad. He was a blue-collar mechanic who worked his ass off for his family and taught me a relentless work ethic.
Any quirks in your career path? Odd jobs? Bad jobs? Cool jobs?
I tended bar and waited tables after graduating college before I found my first real marketing job. I think everyone should wait tables — it will change your perspective for the better.
What’s the ideal office set up for you to do your best work? Quiet? Music, and if so, what? Open work space or closed door? Home or office?
I loved having an office at work and had it decked out with all the toys, posters, artwork and junk that had no place at home. And before the days of Spotify, my hair metal and ‘80s music collection was legit and always on. But our New York office moved to an open work space arrangement more than a year ago and I’m a convert. I was very skeptical going in and it’s not without its challenges, but I love the energy, collaboration and culture it creates — I wouldn’t go back.
Name five things that help you do your job better.
Humility, honesty, passion, openness to change and my iPad — I’d be lost without my iPad.
I wear only Adidas kicks.
What piece of work/project/campaign/creation are you most proud of?
I’m extremely proud of the Maker Space we built this last year at Digitas Health. It’s a mix of old and new with a letterpress, screen printing press, 3D printer, and shooting alley with photography and video equipment. It’s been awesome to see it utilized to create content, encourage collaboration and bring ideas to life. And what I love is that it’s not just the Creative Department utilizing it. We’ve got folks from all capabilities participating in workshops and engaging in creative thinking. We’ve even had clients come in for a session to produce hand-make holiday cards on the letterpress. I’m so proud of the way our agency has embraced the Maker Space and the tremendous impact it’s had on our creative culture.
What’s your favorite color right now?
Burgundy. It always has been.
Which individual has had the most influence on you as a creative?
Early in my career, I had a revolving door of bosses — I think it was nine different managers in a seven-year span. And while that was really difficult to go through, the positive was that I got to experience a lot of different managerial styles — good and bad — that help shape my own approach to managing creative work. But if I had to single out the greatest creative influence on me, it would be my mentors (creative partners and my former bosses) Jac Nolan and Graham Mills who taught me what “good” looks like. They constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to grow creatively.
Do you create on your own time? If so, what do you do and why?
I love sitting on my son’s bedroom floor and building our own original LEGO creations. It’s just so awesome to see such imagination and creativity come out of an eight-year old.
Name a single piece of work, in any medium, that gives you the greatest pleasure.
Our own Skin Cancer Foundation campaign called “The Big See” — it started as a really simple idea to install mirror clings in dressing rooms to get people to check themselves for the only cancer that you can actually see. We’ve since expanded the effort into other tactics and even built an interactive mirror to drive engagement. But within all that, what I’m most happy about, is that over the course of the last year we’ve been working on the campaign, four Digitas Health employees have spotted and successfully treated their own skin cancer. That’s what it’s all about.
Name a single piece of work, in any medium, that leaves you thinking, I wish I had done that.
It’s a couple years old, but SickKids “VS” campaign — specifically the launch film “Undeniable.” The tone and the execution — particularly the production value — is really amazing work. If you watch that and don’t get the feels to join their fight, something is wrong with you.
Name a single work, in any medium, that leaves you wondering, How the hell did they do that?
The art installation “Machine Hallucination” by Refik Anadol is incredible.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Something in professional wrestling.
How do you recharge?
Going to Ireland every August with my family.
What’s your happy place?
On the mound pitching softballs.
Pastel or oil? Neither: colored pencils, please
Sound or vision? Vision
Strings or horns? Strings
Clear or cluttered? Clear
Morning or night? Morning
Design school or liberal arts? Liberal arts