My LES – Doug Jaeger & Kristin Sloan

 
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This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.

 

What do you do?

We operate a creative studio and night gallery.

During the day we help companies create stories and tell them through film, photography and design. At night we run a night gallery called JS55, where we showcase works exploring the relationship between art, design and technology in the context of everyday life.

Doug is a designer, reformed secret party thrower, non-profit board vice-president at the Art Directors Club and a professor at SVA. Kristin is a former New York City Ballet dancer, founder of thewinger.com and a film director/producer.

How long have you lived on the LES?

Six years. But we’ve have been hanging out here for the past 12. I lived in the LES for a year in 1999, then we moved back to the LES together when we bought our place on 2nd Street in 2006… Not technically not the LES, but close enough to make it the primary place we spend our time. In 2010, we moved our creative studio from DUMBO, to our current storefront on Clinton Street, which has been an amazing experience.

Favorite block in the hood?

We really love Clinton Street between Stanton and Rivington. We chose it as a place to set up our studio, and have become close with many of the business owners and residents on the block. Everyone is super nice, lots of dogs, kids, and creative people. The larger span of Clinton Street from Houston down to Delancey has so much amazing food… it should be called Dinner Street.

Favorite date spot in the hood

Fatta Cuckoo! We went there close to the opening earlier this year and found out that one of my classmates from college had started the restaurant with his wife. The vibe they create is intimate and relaxed, while the attention to food and drinks is amazing.  The cocktails are off the charts awesome, and recently the menu has been almost all specials.

Favorite coffee in the hood?

We used to go to Cafe Pedlar ( part of Frankies Spuntino ), before they closed. We now divide our time between Atlas for cold brew,Cocoa Bar for a dirty chai, Dessert Truck Works for great lattes and cappuccinos, or if we are feeling greek we go to Souvlaki GRfor a frappe – light and sweet.

Favorite slice in the hood?

We’re really into pizza, and would recommend San Marzano for their wood fired pizza. Order a Bianca or Caprino slice and you are on your way to heaven.  If you want to make your own, go to the Pizza School on 371 Grand (Pizza A Casa) and be well on your way to pizza self-sufficiency.

Where do you take your visitors when they’re here?

We advocate bike rides over the Williamsburg Bridge and back, picking up some new glasses at Moscot, grabbing some wine atSeptember Wine, an afternoon tea at Teany, ice cream from El labatorio de Gelato, a grapefruit jalapeno margarita from Barrio Chino, a Monday no-line brunch of chicken and waffles from Clinton Street Baking Company, a rock-your-face-off night at St. JeromeFrankies Spuntino for dinner, WD~50 for drinks, a tour of LES galleries on LES third Thursdays, finding new music atMercury Lounge or Arlene’s Grocery, Clerkenwell for a burger and a beer on Saturday afternoon…

Favorite dive/locals bar in the hood?

St. Jerome has the best scene, a recent discovery on a research project. We love the fog machines and colored lights, it’s sort of like a time machine. Iggy’s has a great jukebox, and we always run into our neighborhood friends at Clerkenwell.

How has the neighborhood changed in the last few years?

With a recent influx of hotels, rental towers, college dorms, and a nightlife scene that has excited the local police enough to mount horses and close roads, it’s become a bit of a party war zone.  Not sure what’s causing the change but we’re hoping more people venture over to Clinton street, with JS55 – our night gallery – being one of the many attractions.

Favorite LES memory?

On Sept 8, 2004, Sloan and I hung out together for the first time. Our evening was instigated by a mobile social software that a friend of mine from college made called Dodgeball.com. Dodgeball, the predecessor to Foursquare, used the locations of its users to connect people within a 10 block radius. Sloan was at the Bowery Ballroom with friends, while I was at the Magician with lots of other Dodgeball users. When she and her friends were looking for a place to go after the show, she got an alert from Dodgeball saying that a “friend of a friend” (me) was at the Magician, and so was another Dodgeball user who had a “crush” on her through the application. So they headed over to the Magician. We bar hopped the rest of the evening, and have been best friends ever since.

Social Experiments

 
 

Last week Doug Jaeger teamed up with New York graffiti artist Poster Boy to reimagine a Museum of Modern Art marketing campaign he had helped conceptualize—but the ordeal didn't sit well with MoMA. Before all this, and Jaeger lost his position with the museum, we interviewed him for our next magazine issue. Here's what he had to say.

As founder, C.E.O., and creative director of New York based branding and marketing firm TheHappyCorp and its offshoot LVHRD (pronounced “live hard”), Doug Jaeger generates unique ideas for events that explore new ways for people to interact and think creatively.

Funded by a mix of sponsorship and ticket sales, his events include competitions that pit people from fields like fashion and architecture against each other and “cell phone lockdowns,” where guests either surrender their phones for the evening or rely solely on text messages to communicate. In March, an “un-conference” called WRK/PLY will explore the intersection of work and recreation.

Jaeger is also the recently installed president of the Art Directors Club, and works with the Museum of Modern Artʼs marketing advisory committee to help attract young, creative audiences to the museum.

You seem to do these events just for fun. What do guests take away from your events?

What weʼre trying to do is inspire people by getting them connected to others in different fields. Weʼre trying to cultivate a cross-pollination between various disciplines in a way where one of those professions is showcased. The formula overall that we used to get where we are was to create competitions for people who were innovative in their fields, that got people who are the best at what they do to socialize; and from there, we built our audience.

Do you find much of a difference in the way people in creative fields participate compared with those from the business world?

What weʼve found is that there are people in the business sector who have a really strong creative sense. They end up participating equally or even more. I think itʼs kind of a sad generalization that people in business arenʼt creative
—itʼs just that their careers donʼt often permit them to be. When they come to the events, they feel free to express themselves, expand their horizons, and meet and collaborate with people

Youʼve done events that hinge on the presence or absence of technology. Do you find itʼs more of a blessing or a curse?

What I think weʼre really interested in is how it changes things. We really enjoy playing with technology and integrating it into the fabric of our events. Itʼs great, but we donʼt think itʼs a substitute for actually meeting people. We use it as an enabler, and then, by taking it away, it can have other effects.

Are you finding that people are more receptive to these sorts of activities, given the current economy?

In terms of content of the events, what we offer is pretty unusual. And I think the people we attract would come nomatter what. As far as a response to the current circumstances, we are thinking about doing a group of events that help people find work. We believe in hardwork. A lot of people are losing their jobs, so weʼre trying to figure out a way to get them employed. Weʼre in a challenging time, but I donʼt think we are going to stop trying to have fun.

Profile : Doug Jaeger

 
 
 

The ADC's youngest-ever president takes time to talk tattoos, social justice and creativity

 

© Gary Sloan

© Gary Sloan

Clocks fill a wall of the downtown New York design and branding shop thehappycorp global. A Homer Simpson clock, a kitschy cat-clock with moving eyes and tail and a Salvador Dali-style timepiece -- its features "melted" out of shape -- are part of the collection. "I'm really obsessed with time and the design of time," explains CEO and creative director Doug Jaeger when asked about the "33" tattoo still flaking on his forearm. The body art was a gift from his girlfriend and commemorates his recent 33rd birthday. (And he got the ink at precisely 3:33.)

"It's something I'm really interested in. Interactive work in any form, whether it is an experience, digital, a printed piece, requires an understanding of time," he says. Time has been on Jaeger's side. As the ink was drying on his first tattoo, the Art Directors Club, the 88-year old nonprofit that holds the yearly ADC Awards, was announcing the appointment of Jaeger as its youngest president to date. Taking over from Taxi founder Paul Lavoie next month, Jaeger is modest about the recognition, remembering how shy he was in early meetings when he joined the board of the New Yor based trade organization three years ago.

Rattling off the names of celebrated industry creative directors he joined on the board, Jaeger recounts what an honor it was last year to be among the many creative directors who have been asked to craft the club's call for entries. "Am I famous now?" Jaeger remembers asking himself.

The Syracuse University graduate parlayed his studies in media arts and computer graphics into jobs at Agency.com and K2 and creative director posts at generalist shops JWT and TBWA\Chiat\Day. Jaeger struck out on his own in late 2003, setting up a business that has grown from its humble T-shirt-design beginnings in his SoHo apartment to the 18-employee "think tank" of "hybrid talent" whose mission is "to have a company with a conscience." Its logo is a bright pink happy face.

"It's really rewarding," says Jaeger of clients like Action Without Borders, which runs the Web site idealist.org, and ooma, a firm that offers free Internet phone service. "I still think our company is naive," says Jaeger, who prefers to measure its development in human stages. "Soon we'll be a teenager." But in the meantime, he says, it feels gratifying to "influence products and tools that will shape the future of our world."

Now tasked with helping to shape the future of the Art Directors Club, Jaeger will use the same online and offline brand-building, event-planning and social-networking tools he uses to build his own company and its clients to expand the role the club plays in the lives of its members. "By connecting to every organization and every possibility I think we do justice to people who have chosen to be creative in the world," he says. "Creative people need support and need each other to advance."

Ratcheting up the social currency of the club among the young creative types in New York City -- and beyond through the Web -- shouldn't be too much of a stretch. For years, Jaeger's been bringing creative people together through LVHRD ("Live Hard"), an event-planning arm/ social experiment that began with his desire to connect with creative people from other industries and has led to unconventional, brand-sponsored events such as the "Vending Machine Challenge," a contest to see who can first eat all the contents of a vending machine; “Architects Duel," which pits architects against each other with a raucous creative brief executed on stage; and "Cell Phone Lock In," in which twentysomethings check their cell phones at the door of the Museum of Modern Art to listen to Brooklyn band Les Savy Fav. "I'm tireless, I work really hard, I take chances," says Jaeger, currently in the planning stages of "Cell Phone Lock In 2" for a yet-to-be-determined client. "The ADC wants me to take my energy and give the club energy, make it more youthful, make it about the next generation of communications."

ADC taps happycorp's Doug Jaeger as president

 
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The Art Director Club gets its youngest president in its 88-year history in Doug Jaeger, founder, CEO and creative director of design and branding agency thehappycorp global. 

Jaeger, 33, brings his experience in social networking and the digital realm to the club, with plans to use technology and events to connect ADC members with each other and the design world. 

Before happycorp, he started TBWA/Chiat/Day's digital creative practice as group creative director and management board member. At TBWA, Jaeger and Anomaly's Johnny Vulkan established the Disruption Group, after which, in 2003, the duo left to launch thehappycorp global in New York. Jaeger, who joined the ADC board in 2005, will serve a three-year term as president. 

The club held an impromptu changing of the guard at an event featuring artist Yazmany Arboleda last Wednesday, where Lavoie present Jaeger to the audience, calling him his personal choice for the ADC's next president. The event, "The Assassination of Art, When Politics and Art Collide," analyzed Arboleda's controversial Keller-Gates Project, a hoax called artistic experiment from earlier this year that involved fake galleries, invented personas, extensive media coverage and satirical depictions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Jaegar says this project is an example of how design influences culture--the kind of connection to the outside world he wants to foster at the ADC. 

ADC executive director Ami Brophy was also promoted to CEO. New additions to the ADC board include David Angelo of El Segundo, Calif.'s David & Goliath, Craig Dubitsky of New York's The Kind Group, Publicis New York's Rob Feakins and Noreen Morioka of Beverly Hills, Calif.'s AdamsMorioka.

Election 2008: Eye To Eye: Campaign Web Sites

 
 

Science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg speaks with internet expert Doug Jaeger about the separate and distinct web sites of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

There is a new front line in the presidential campaign battle this year: your computer screen. A recent survey shows almost half of us use the internet, e-mail, and text messages to get political news. That means what the candidates say on their Web site and how they say it - is crucial, CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports.

Sure, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama still make speeches, kiss babies, and do grip-and-grin photos ops, but much of the real campaign has gone online.

"It's about understanding how to use the Web to get your message out there and get your supporters to distribute it for you," said Andrew Rasiej, online entrepreneur and Founder of Personal Democracy Forum.

In this case, the medium really is the message. It's where more than positions differentiate the candidates - it's in how they're using their Web sites. CBS News went to Web design expert Doug Jaeger for his professional review, which started with a complaint.

"This is the home page, this is where we're greeting people," he said, showing McCain's Web site. "Do you think these guys could make eye contact with us? No."

Jaeger describes Obama's site as "clean" and McCain's as "cluttered."

"He's using lots of different type faces at all different sizes, which gives you a feeling of chaos," he said.

Both Web sites target specific audiences. McCain goes after six, including veterans, lawyers and sportsmen. Obama has 18, ranging from Asian-Americans to women. Kids have their own special area, including a logo to color. McCain offers a game called Pork Invaders on his Facebook page. Kill enough pigs, and you're rewarded with a statement about pork-barrel politics.

"Obama's then goes on to do what McCain's doesn't, which is to provide his supporters this whole infrastructure to organize themselves to do things that are going to help get Obama elected, and McCain's just doesn't do that," said Politico's Ben Smith.

The Obama campaign may hope the Internet will do for Obama what television did for John F. Kennedy in 1960. Just compare the candidate's popularity on the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. Obama has 1,281,471 Facebook "friends" and 443,004 on MySpace. McCain has 192,957 on Facebook and 62,203 on MySpace.

Enter a zip code on Obama's site and you can find, or put together, events, like one fundraiser organized by Arlene Geiger.

"It allows everybody who wants to do something to put their thing out there and see if anybody gets excited about it," Geiger said.

McCain has just recently added a similar feature. He's been using a different approach to get supporters to "spread the word." The campaign supplies the talking points - you post them on a blog and get reward points for doing so - redeemable for prizes like riding the Straight-Talk Express.

But McCain's Web site is still playing catch up to Obama's use of cyberspace, and there are fewer than 12 weeks until Election Day.

"Building communities online takes time and building strong robust websites also takes time, so it's kind of like getting a 747 to take off from a small regional airport. There ain't enough runway," Rasiej said. 

And there's no guarantee that online enthusiasm will translate into votes for either candidate. 

"I don't think you can get elected president of the United States without using the internet, but you're certainly not going to get elected with it alone," Rasiej said.

No matter who wins in the election, in a campaign that has already broken ground regarding gender and race, the Internet has triumphed as a new voice for the people - and maybe a transformative tool for the candidates.

 

For an interesting critique of this piece, check out... MRC NEWS Busters.

Marketers of the Next Generation

 
 
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You only live once, so why not enjoy it? The founder of thehappycorp global lives hard and plays with the culture queens. Fortunately, a number of brands also make A-list.

Call him a marketing-agency-owning “grup,” but maybe not to his face. Doug Jaeger, the youthful founder of thehappycorp global,
isn’t a fan of labels.

In case the fun, informal, all-lowercase fonts aren’t a clue, Jaeger’s company is far from traditional and uptight. He served his time on Madison Avenue with such grown-up clients as Lucent Technologies, DeBeers, TD Waterhouse, Absolut and Orbitz.com as a partner of Digital@JWT and as the youngest creative director at TBWA\Chiat\Day. But his resume also boasts such playful milestones as “1990: Learned to drive stick shift on Atari’s Hard Drivin’ in an N.J. bowling alley” and “1996: invented Virtual Omelette, one of the Web’s first viral experiments.” At 31, Jaeger (pronounced like the herbal liqueur) seems like a textbook case of the lucky Gen Xer who managed to transform “work” into fun.

“We don’t say, ‘We’re a marketing agency,’ ” Jaeger insisted. But basically, it’s a marketing agency wrapped in a social experiment shrouded in an excuse to party, or vice-versa. Or, something like that. By staging monthly NYC happenings that are part flash mob, part art experiment, part Fight Club, thehappycorp is designed to “do good by helping companies market better through the use of community-building techniques,” said Jaeger. Brands ride along as presenters of the fun. The events, which are thrown and publicized by his club/blog/quarterly print magazine arm, LVHRD (that’s “live hard”), utilize “fashion, art, architecture, speed . . . to get people together in a landscape where a competition can occur.”

Take the Master-Disaster Vending Machine Challenge. Last month in a TriBeCa bar, teams from MoMA and publications AM New York, The Onion and Pocket Change were pitted against each other to see which could be the first to devour the entire contents of a fully stocked automat. Word of the event spread through the LVHRD grapevine and blogs, and the event sold out as about 200 local hipsters paid $11-22 to witness the snacking spectacle. And, while it might not sound like marketing per se, Dewar’s Scotch whisky, Fred water and Brooklyn Brewery also were in attendance. Other clients include auto-sharing service Zipcar, DJ source Turntable Lab and the blogs T Ching and Amy’s Babies.

Five years into his previous agency career, Jaeger already was pegged as a digital maverick, but felt pigeonholed. He says he was working on an account for a candy with “lead and arsenic in it” when a colleague pointed out that he didn’t appear to be happy. “Though I’d worked on some clever marketing stuff, I didn’t want to make people feel bad about how much money they earn [in order to persuade them] to buy a bigger diamond,” Jaeger said. “I think there’s this whole American ideal of bigger cars, bigger celebrities, bigger everything. I started thinking about what would make me, and others around me, happy.”

Thus, thehappycorp was born in 2004, and about a year later Jaeger began the LVHRD gatherings to attract creatives—not the ad world’s cream of the crop—but the art, music, acting, design-scene variety who drive New York culture. The club now has roughly 2,500 “hardcore members” and 10,000 people on its e-mail list. Forget the velvet rope. LVHRD is about curating quality: members get texts with addresses of the super-secret parties on event days, not prior.

Rather than pitch hard, sponsor imagery can be grafted into the action; food and beverage brands offer sample s. Video podcasts–both pro and amateur—pick up a sponsor’s presence at events and blogs weave them into the conversation. According to Jaeger, brands have to be entertaining—or, at the very least, entertainment enablers—to stand out in a DVR-driven world that is the antithesis of traditional advertising.

“Brands need to make their messages active content,” he said. “They need to stop having taglines and start talking to people [and] providing content they care about. If you appear as an advertiser, you are not going to get consumers to consume.”

Absolut Interactive

Overview:

Ad banner series encourages consumption of Absolut flavored vodkas and drives visitors to the Website for recipes, pickup lines, party tips and interactive stories...

  • Average download size per ad is 50k
  • Animations developed in Flash
  • Interactive elements activated with rolloyers and mouse action 
Like the well-known print ads that engage you with word/image play, these engage you with word/interaction play.
— Julia Whitney
The whole campaign was well-executed but there’s great interactivity in this particular piece.
— Mandar Mhaskar

Creator's Comments:

"This work came out of a brief for us to create ads around 'consumption,' to give people a reason to use the product. Our solution was to promote flavors and drink recipes; we spent weeks testing which recipes would be worthy.

"Our client requires that we show branding in the form of the bottle shape at the start of each ad. The key challenge was to maintain a photographic look, under the sok limitation set by media properties. As a rule, there are no clicks in the ads; all interaction happens through the rollovers.

"Absolut Freshness' borrows from a print ad made when Citron originally launched. Reflections of the lemon on the lemon juicer were painstakingly created by hand using masks, with scaling and skewing of the original lemon. It drove our programmer crazy. The wave created as the headline fills with yellow is actually outlined video taken from a glass filling with actual Absolut. 

"`Seabreeze' was a programming nightmare; everyone on the team wanted a vacation. At first we were going to try to do collision detection on all the pieces of glass, but we ended up creating a linear animation that reacted to mouse position. But sound design was the toughest nut to crack, actual sea glass doesn't chime and metal sounded too hollow—sound effects CDs are worth the space they take up on shelves. "Absolut Soulmates' has been a flexible execution for us. This ad was recast for Valentine's Day release. "'Scorcher' was inspired by Absolut Peppar and a series of fire drills at the office." 

-DOUG JAEGER 

Credits:

John Bellina/Doug Jaeger, creative directors
Jason Lucas, art director
Dan Cronin, writer
Tim Harrington/Adrian Lafond, programmers/graphic designers/ producers TBWA\Chiat\Day\Tequila, project design and development/ ad agency
Absolut, client 

 

Five to Watch

 
 

A handful of up and coming leaders expand the Netmarketing universe.

Think Net marketing is kickback work?. You try riding herd on millions of online customers 24 hours a day. Here are five young mavericks creating. some of the best  that Net marketing has to offer from key positions in the industry: Net PR specialist; creative directors at traditional interactive agencies; and marketing directors at a  dotcom and at an old line firm. 

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Somebody once said the Internet knows no age, only good ideas. That’s what we’re about,

DeBeers Design Your Own Engagement Ring Commercial, created at Digital@JWT.

The Right Brain

Doug Jaeger,
Interactive Creative Director
TBWA\Chiat\Day

Age: 24 

Claim to Fame: The "design your own engagement ring" online idea and the accompanying TV ad campaign for DeBeers. The overwhelming response by Web Surfers crashed the DeBeers server six times.

Doug Jaeger has always been captivated by media. In junior high. he and his friends programmed Fantasy roleplaying games on a Mac. In high school, he spliced film and music on computers to create his own movies. In college during an internship at agency.com, he helped create the Webpage for huge multinational Lucent Technologies.

Now just 24, Jaeger plies his technical skills and Creative instincts as the first interactive creative director at powerhouse ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. He is by far the youngest creative director at the agency known for its Apple, Taco Bell, and Energizer ads.

CEO Carl Johnson says Jaeger's youth serves as a catalyst for broader thinking inside the. agency and sends the message that age doesn't matter. "I don't care how old anyone is, I care how good they are," Johnson says.

Johnson first heard about the hot young creative at J. Walter Thompson through the industry grapevine. After one meeting, the CEO wanted Jaeger on his team. Johnson decided to treat Jaeger as a new business pitch and began to woo him, including buying Jaeger's personal URL dougjaeger.com.

Jaeger was impressed. "I liked the way they were thinking. I thought 'This is the way: to motivate someone, he says.

The ultimate entrepreneur as a kid he once sold cow print T-shirts Jaeger believes he can contribute much to a "traditional" ad agency. He's already working on integrated ad projects for Circuit City and Barnesandnoble.com, creating an internal, interactive knowledge database, brainstorming with other staffers, and recruiting talent like himself.

"Somebody once said the Internet knows no age, only good ideas. That's what we're about," he says. BS8

Shock Troops – Kid Rocks

 
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Stylin' grey from head to toe, Doug Jaeger looks like he belongs on the set of Friends, rather than among the Madison Avenue set. Yet he nonchalantly roams the halls of 136yearold J. Walter Thompson exuding an air of confidence. Just 24, the associate creative director of Digital@JWT has soared to the ranks of partner in less than a year, forgoing the corporate ladder climb altogether.

"I think it's my [JWT] oneyear anniversary today," says Jaeger in a howaboutthat way as he devours Jelly Belly jelly beans, confiscated from JWT president Bob Jeffrey's office.

As one of the initial hires after JWT, slow to the punch in the interactive arena, created its digital division in early 1999, golden boy Jaeger offered to stir things up in the television commercial centric firm. He came to the agency toting, a client list two pages long, a testament to his realworld experience at both Web shop Agency.com, where he designed the Lucent Technologies Web site, and design shop K2 Design, where he helped launch a Bell Atlantic ISDN campaign. With Jaeger's input, the digital communications group has grown from six to 40 employees in the span of a year. "I'm trying to build a team that knows everything from top to bottom," he says.

Jaeger, who prefers to think of himself a "digital guy" as opposed to an "ad guy," preaches a philosophy of integration. Managing the digital creative for clients including Merrill Lynch, Warner Lambert, J&B Scotch and De Beers, is only one of this multi-tasker's tasks. He also coordinates efforts with other JWT divisions to ensure consistent campaigns that transfer seamlessly from traditional media to the Web and viceversa.

He may not think of himself as an ad guy, but he definitely knows how to speak the language. "The ad guys are my friends," says Jaeger, who regularly participates in meetings and pitches with Bob Jeffrey, Digital@JWT director Kevin Wassong, ©JWT head Marina Hahn who heads the entertainment division and worldwide creative director Bill Hamilton. "It's like a blender. There's digital. There's direct. There's traditional. You put the elements in the blender and turn it on."

On this particular morning he has already traveled to Warner Lambert in Morris Plains, N.J., to present the online creative for Listerine. Then, he met with JWT worldwide director of corporate communications Owen Dougherty, a.k.a. "the corporate identification cop," to discuss the identity of JWT, something that has been on his mind as of late. "We have a brand that's stayed the same, yet the content has changed," he explains, adding that JWT's identity should reflect that change. Dougherty suggested Jaeger take the matter up with JWT worldwide CEO Chris Jones in writing.

More irreverent than reverential, Jaeger sports a black and white glossy of Jones on his office wall. It reads, "To Doug All the Best, Chris." He laughs, and 'fesses up: "I wrote that." Overlooking the lush greenery inside the Park Atrium Building on Lexington Avenue, Jaeger's seventh floor work abode looks more like a dorm room than a corporate office. A five foot stuffed carrot, left over from his Syracuse University college days when he wrote the comic strip Insane Carrot, sits on his leather coach. Homemade posters poking fun at his colleagues hang on the walls. Vitamins, cough drops, bottles of beverages, piles of papers and a lap top computer inhabit his desk. As someone who at times clocks an 80 hour work week, Jaeger tries to make the environment fun.

As his officemate Garth Horn, a digital copywriter, works on the Lipton Brisk online campaign that features Claymation characters, Jaeger spies over his shoulder to examine his progress. "I think the copy is a little bit aggressive," he says. They then talk about toning it down. Spontaneous interaction is typical Jaeger. With cell phone in tow, he can be reached at all times, and he often pops in on colleagues, offers constructive criticism, answers questions and helps them brainstorm.

Nytimes: Styles Business Strategy for GenX: Dressing Up.

Nytimes-Styles-Business-Strategy-For-Gen-X-Dressing-Up

DOUG JAEGER took one look at Scott Mager's white shirt from Ralph Lauren and silk tie and said something he never expected to hear himself say to a coworker: "You're looking quite dapper today."

Was this a powertie encounter? An update of "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," Sloan Wilson's 40yearold critique of corporate culture? Hardly. Mr. Jaeger, 20, and Mr. Mager, 24, are Web page designers at an Internet marketing and design firm, Agency.com, which has turned a ritual of corporate life in the 1990's inside out. Unlike companies that have relaxed their suitandtie or blouseandskirt dress codes for "casual Fridays," Agency.com has "dressup Fridays." The men are encouraged to wear jackets and ties instead of the casual clothes they wear the rest of the week; the women, dresses or suits.

"Dressup Fridays" sounds like a throwback to a time before Agency.com existed  the dressforsuccess 80's  but the onceaweek dress code has not made it a stiff, stare hy or stuffy place. It is still not a place that brings to mind Jimmy Rushing's "Harvard Blues" ("I wear Brooks clothes and white shoes all the time"). Indeed, Agency.com's Friday look is a bit rumpled and decidedly not Paul Stuart or J. Press, though there is a sprinkling of jackets f from the A/X Armani Exchange.

The bosses at Agency.com (pronounced "agency dot com," as if it were a n address on the World Wide Web) say the idea is to show buttondown, mainstream clients that their yearanda halfold company has business savvy even if it does not have a long and venerable corporate history.

'This is a very interesting corporate tactic to excite people," said Michael Marsden, a dean and popular culture historian at Northern Michigan University. "It underscores the fact that most of our attire is costume. Whether we accept the fact or not, we are using clothing as a statement of our relationship to the world or our relationship to other people."

There is no question that casual clothes have become popular 9to5 outfits: only 35 percent of office workers wear "formal business attire" every day, according to the NPD Apparel Services Group, a market research company in Port Washington, L.I. Khakis have become a kind of uniform, with 69 percent of men and 59 percent of women wearing them.

But there has been a reaction against dress down Fridays. Traders at Citibank's headquarters at 399 Park Avenue gave up the once a week casual look. "The people decided it wasn't a good idea and dropped it," said John Morris, a Citibank spokesman. "The rest of the bank does not dress down. I think they felt a little selfconscious."

At Agency.com, dress up Fridays give the company a chance to do practice runs for new business presentations and client meetings  and to make a statement about Agency.com. The company is fighting the notion that its young Web page creators are second class citizens in the high pressure worlds of advertising and marketing. "This industry is growing up," said one of Agency.com's owners, Chan Sub. "We used to be curiosities. We don't want to be a bunch of kids and computers anymore, and we realized there was a disconnect with the world we moved in."

That includes clients like Metropolitan Life and American Express. "They might think it's fun to meet two guys who dress poorly," Mr. Suh said. But he and his partner, Kyle Shannon, who founded the firm in January 199 5, fretted that Fortune 500 companies would have a different reaction as their business grew.

Agency.com has hired 40 employees in the last year  and Mr. Shannon has bought a sport coat. He made the purchase last month while he was on vacation. "Part of the vacation was styling up," he said. "We need to say to people, we know how to play the game."

Even if it hurts. Jordana deMello, a marketing coordinator, wears chunkyheeled shoes from Joan & David on Fridays. "Excruciatingly painful," she said. "I usually wear sandals."

Dressup Fridays gave Ruth Thomas, an account executive at the company, one day on which to wear the skirts and blouses she wore four days a week when she worked at Time Warner and the J.Walter Thompson advertising agency. Agency.com's restoftheweek look, in fact, created a problem for her: "I don't have enough casual clothes to wear during the week," she said.

Mr. Sub, 34, had the opposite problem. "I used to have a suit," he said. "Suits. When I quit my last corporate job, I balled them up and put them in a Fed Ex box. Now, I can't find the box. I had to get new ones."

Dressup Fridays were Mr. Shannon's idea. The company's first office was in the Time & Life Building, a bastion of the corporate look four days a week and carefully pressed khakis on casual Fridays. After rubbing scruffy elbows with Time executives' studied casual look on dressdown Fridays, Mr. Shannon joked,

"Let's have dressup Fridays." He apparently did not realize that in the corporate culture, when the boss speaks, new employees hear exclamation points at the ends of his sentences. "By the second time I said it," he said, "everybody did it."

Joseph Weintraub, a professor of management at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., said that that was an indication of where Agency.com was in its evolution from the days when Mr. Suh's office was big enough for a staff meeting. "Other companies are trying to reduce hierarchy," Mr. Weintraub said. "As they down* size and flatten the hierarchy, one way to equalize the playing field is to remove the suit and tie look generically, not as a male and female thing, so you don't have these status symbols that tell you this is management, this is non management."

Mr. Suh said that dressing up had proved to be more than a lark. "It was important for our staff to know there was another side to having a job," Mr. Sub said. "It's good for them to feel a noose around their necks. I worked in a corporate setting for, like, nine years. I had to wear a suit. It was a liberating experience not to have to do that, but it's a good thing to do it sometimes. It's a symbol, like a tribal tattoo, that shows you understand what the environment is."

Which Mr. Mager clearly does.

"I always kind of thought that once I got a real job, I'd wear a tie," Mr. Mager said. "It was a relief to get a job where you didn't have to wear a tie. But this is how we show the big boys we can stay in their league."

But staying in one's social league still counts. Mr. Jaeger dresses down after dressup Friday: at the end of the day, he changes into a Tshirt that he keeps in a file drawer to keep from feeling out of place when he gets together with friends from "casual Friday" offices. "And I wear khakistyle jeans, which can be confused with dress pants," he said.

Other Agency.com employees dress up, but not that far up. Don Westrich's Friday uniform includes a pair of black Converse AllStars. "I have a pair of white ones," he said, "for every day."