Bumble hires first global CD to build an in-house agency: ‘We’re looking for thought partners’

Drew Jaz joins from Mcgarrybowen

Bumble has hired Mcgarrybowen’s Drew Jaz as its first global creative director, handing him a remit to grow the brand’s internal creative team into a functioning in-house agency.

The company, which now boasts 55 million users across its dating, social and business networking platforms, already has a staff of around 12 writers, editors, designers, video producers and graphic artists sat within its creative team.

Jaz has been brought on board to grow this function into a fully operational in-house shop in order for it to conceptualize and execute campaigns and brand work autonomously. Leading from the front, the creative hopes to add structure to the team and push it from “design and project based-work to larger ideation and brand storytelling work”.

Bumble has historically worked with agencies on a project-to-project basis; it hired Nashville's FlyteVu and VMLY&R to create its Super Bowl spot starring Serena Williams, for instance. A company spokesperson said Jaz's hire will not affect any agency relationships moving forward.

The creative director joins armed with experience from the other side of the fence; he led the Intel account at Mcgarrybowen in San Francisco and worked closely with the brand’s now-defunct in-house shop, Agency Inside.

He told The Drum he aims to bring the same spirit of collaboration between brand and agency to Bumble’s internal agency, calling for “thought partners” rather than shops for hire.

“We will continue to lean on outside agencies that going forward where it makes most sense,” he said. “My team is looking to really collaborate with a thought partner and break down the more traditional way an agency works with a brand. I see it as being a collaboration between my team and theirs.

“When you don't have that barrier between the two and you're really able to realize that you're in this together ... the outcome is always better.”

The creative director will be based in the dating platform’s headquarters of Austin, Texas and report directly to its founder and chief executive, Whitney Wolfe Herd, as well as chief of staff Caroline Ellis Roche. Once settled, he hopes to travel to the peripheries of Bumble’s markets in his global role to “make sure we have a unified message as a brand”.

“Whitney and the senior leadership here have really done an incredible job of defining what that voice is for Bumble and making sure we're reaching users in a really authentic way,” he said. “It's important to scale that creative team to make sure we steward that brand voice and the magic that Bumble has held over four-and-a-half years.

“It’s my job now to help guide the team and carry that torch and make sure we're staying true to our mission.”

Jaz will contribute in a creative capacity to Bumble’s ongoing projects, including its print magazine that launched recently in collaboration with Hearst’s branded content studio.

The company recently committed to expanding its commercial model globally with the hire of Grindr’s Michele Tobin, its first vice-president of partnerships. Samantha Fulgham has held the role of chief creative marketing officer since December 2018.

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