Jason Zada is an award-winning storyteller and director. In 2016, his first theatrical feature film, The Forest was released into theaters by Focus Features. Previously, Jason was most recognized for the Emmy Award-winning cinematic personal experience ‘Take This Lollipop’, which has been seen by over 100 million people all over the world. The film gathered 13 million Facebook Likes, making it the fastest growing FB app of all time. Jason’s unique blend of multi-screen storytelling landed him in Adweek/Creativity’s Top 50 most influential creative personalities of 2012.
Starting at an early age, Jason was attracted to non-traditional storytelling. Creating Super8 films, programming text adventures on his Commodore 64 and video games formed a strong foundation as both an avid geek and storyteller. During the 1990’s Jason spent time telling stories in CD-ROMs and on the Internet. In the fall of 2000, Jason started the digital advertising agency Evolution Bureau and over the next 8 years grew EVB into a 65-person, world-renowned agency. This led to the holding company, Omnicom, to acquire a majority stake in the company.
As a commercial director, Jason has worked with some of the most prominent advertising agencies in the world, such as Weiden + Kennedy, Crispin Porter Bogusky, Sid Lee, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, RPA, Y&R, Draftfcb, Kaplan Thaler and Grey on a variety of digital and broadcast projects.
A lover of telling stories in front of strangers, Jason is often asked to speak at a variety of industry events including Cannes, South by Southwest and FITC. Jason’s work has appeared in New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, Adweek, Shoot Magazine, Communication Arts, IndieWire, Contagious and a variety of other film and advertising publications.
For a really in-depth overview of Jason’s interactive storytelling past, check out this Medium article.
Take This Lollipop received an Emmy Award in 2012 for ‘New Approaches’ in entertainment.
Jason has received over 200 awards for his work as a storyteller, including 20 Cannes Lions, Best in Show at SXSW, Webby Awards, Clios, D&ADs and more.
Someone made a Wikipedia page about JZ. It’s insanely informative and isn’t as awkward as writing in the third person.
Jason’s work, from Lollipop to music videos, has been seen by well over 1.3 BILLION people worldwide.
THE GREATEST HITS AND MILESTONE PROJECTS
2006. The Elf.
The site that launched the “upload your face” phenomenon. I directed this on a tiny green screen in our office at EVB and it went on to the become one of the most viral sites of all time and cement itself into pop-culture for the next 13 years.
2011. The Lollipop.
Take This Lollipop was launched with a tweet in October of 2011. It quickly became the fastest growing Facebook app of all time, landed me legal trouble and won an Emmy. The Facebook Connected film broke all viral records and became an iconic campaign in pop culture.
2013. The Tourist.
After doing the first ever human controlled by the internet with David on Demand in Cannes, I was hired to create another first – a remote-controlled tourist. The project became one of the most awarded projects of the year, taking home %IVE Cannes Lions, and many Best in Shows.
2016. The Forest.
On January 8th, 2016, The Forest premiered in 2,300 theaters in the US and opened with a $12.7 MILLION first weekend. The Forest went on to do a little under $40 MILLION globally.
2017. The Bees.
Announced at Sundance, a partnership with Haagen Dazs allowed for a very special story that could only be told in VR, “The Extraordinary Honey Bee”. Honey bees are dying rapidly, so we shrink you down into a bee to experience why it’s happening.
2018. The Homeless.
Santander Bank wanted to help shed light on a certain aspect of homelessness – people who were living out of their car but had full-time jobs. Using a powerful AR app and a special event in Boston, you could step into someone else’s shoes and experience what life is like.