MEET: Jamie Klingler
How to introduce Jamie Klingler? Well how does ‘Digital Marketeer of the Year, creator of National Burger Day, Mum of McNulty the famous dog, and, most of all, a force of nature’ sound?
We feel hugely privileged that she took the time to chat to us, enjoy this interview - we know we did.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a bit of a loud American who’s been on the scene for quite a while. I also have a slightly famous dog named McNulty, like from The Wire. Her birthdays have been in the paper, she’s even been in a movie. For her fourth birthday one of my dear friends got a lifesize cake made of her. I’ve featured in a couple of German documentaries about not having children by choice, McNulty always features there pretty strongly.
How has this happened to McNulty?!
I’m ridiculous. I’m like a show mum.
Can you tell us about your career?
Originally I was in Film so I worked on Law and Order in New York and then I went to Corbis which was a photo agency owned by Bill Gates. I was there a couple of years and then I transferred to London. It was only supposed to be a year and I’ve been here for sixteen. When I left there I joined Shortlist where I was their Launch Photo Director, but then they saw how I was running my picture desk and said to me ‘well you know how you do that, will you do that for the rest of the company?’. So I became Editorial Finance Manager and Photo Director. Ever since then there’s been quite a lot of mixtures. I eventually got made Head of Publishing and took on a lot of big projects.
Can you give us an example of a project?
So the first major project that was my baby was the 24 hour issue for Stylist Magazine where we created an entire office in Regent’s Place and then created an entire issue in 24 hours. All in all, it was about a 5 month project to be able to make that issue in one night. I’ve also done a bunch of other marketing things, like launching National Burger Day for Mr.Hyde and National Pizza Day for Foodism. I also partnered with Heather Wilson who was my Events Manager and we created London Seafood Festival for Battersea Power Station.
What was that like?
The Saturday before Seafood Festival my Mum died, and I was the face of it. I had to do it, we worked so hard to see that over the line, but it actually ended up putting my brain back in order.
We had 24,000 people come in our first year. We hired mermaids, we had a food stand and a giant blow up Sebastien, we worked with Wright Brothers; the sun was shining on us. One of the little kids even bought one of the mermaids an ice cream because she said she had never had ice cream under the sea. On the day, we even had an all female crew. London Seafood Festival kicked my butt, it was the hardest, biggest, most outrageous project and it was worth every second.
What work are you doing now?
I am the founder of Creative Influence Alliance which is my own company so everything i’ve just talked about, so Pizza Day and and London Seafood Festival, that’s all coming through that. The project I’m working on right now is about creating a children’s app with a sports brand as a content provider so i’m acting as a Client Liaison. It should be an amazing app that 100,000 of kids download next year.
What has your experience taught you?
I fight for every brand i’m with. When I was in Shortlist I was fighting for those brands we worked with and when I was in the brand’s offices, I was fighting for Shortlist and Stylist. I was learning how to speak to our readers and figuring out why they were coming to us. When I was with Ford I was in Blue Hives office every Wednesday. I had a desk, they had a picture of my dog up. It’s very much about being intrinsically involved.
Can you tell us more about the famous National Burger Day?
I was going on holiday and the budget had a deadline of 1st September so I knew if we were going to do something it had to be as late as possible. So I thought, well my birthday is August 27th, if i’m going to do a stunt, I’m going to make it my Birthday Party. And socially, I was hanging out with Holly from Meat Liquor and Zan from Bleecker all summer. We got drunk and it was like, ‘let’s do National Burger Day!’
Then the Street Feast Guys agreed to do it and I pitched it to the office. The first year was almost me going door to door. By the final year I was involved, we had £125,000 sponsorship, 1200 restaurants, and over 47,000 people signed up for it. It was insane. Every year I make a burger tiara. GBK even put me on the front cover and named a burger after me.
How do you find being a woman in business?
I think here there is a misconception about women and sales. It’s like it has to be this flirty thing, but it’s not about flirting, it’s about getting shit done. And even though being a woman in business is not often a problem. Certain projects are a challenge. Given who i’m working with, I am the only female on set which meant that I ended up taking lunch orders, despite there being a male runner. I’ve done it, I’ve been a runner, i’ve put in my hours, and by no means am I incapable of making tea for people but i’m not taking the lunch orders because i’m the female on set. Even now though, it was a very difficult post meeting for me to sit down and say that it was demeaning.
I’ve heard that you read an insane amount. Is this true?
Yeah, my other big passion, aside from my dog, is reading. I did a thing for the i paper about the 89 books I read last year. I’m not a snob about books, I’ll read anything. I’ll read about 2-3 books a week. That was one of the hardest thing when my mum died, I had no attention span. Literally a quarter of my time is spent reading and when I felt I couldn't do that anymore it was such a gulf. I am very happy to report that I am back to reading though.
You also run London Book Club, what’s that like?
I’ve ran London Book Club for the last 6 years. We’ve had authors try to come to London Book Club and we’re like no, no way! People wouldn’t speak, they’d be really English about it and I don’t want to stifle the conversation.
Would you ever write a book?
I think I want to write a book, I mean everyone and their brother wants to write a book.
What does it mean to you to be creative?
To not look at things the same way that everyone else looks at them, and not to categorise. I hate the categories where its like ‘oh he’s a creative, he can’t think about things in a business sense’. It’s this precious bullshit that I don't relate to. Bringing those worlds together is one of my biggest skills. Yes I read, yes I was a film major, yes I was a photographer, but I can also produce. I think that part confuses people, they don’t expect creative people to be able to sell and negotiate. Add in the feistiness and the feminism and that’s me.
Who is the most influential person in your work?
I am so like my Dad, and that comes across in business. I’m a bit of a hardass but i’m super passionate, I really care. My work does represent who I am.
What motivates your work?
It either has to inspire me, excite me, make me famous or make me a shit tonne of money.
What is the happiest moment of your career?
The 24 hour issue of Stylist was incredible, Burger Day was incredible. I also won Marketeer of the Year for Burger Day but then that same night Trump won...so, they come and go. I’ve had a pretty good ride working with amazing people. Seafood Festival was a personal highlight though.
When you’re feeling down what’s your best way up?
McNulty belly rubs, 100%.
Any last tip?