More than 8 million people follow Jerome Jarre’s exhibitionist antics on Vine, which occasionally feature the likes of Ben Stiller, Anna Wintour, and Beyoncé. Hundreds of thousands respond to his Snapchat posts. This has made him a desired partner for brands like MTV, GE, and Pepsi–which recently hired him to travel the world on behalf of Liter of Light, which creates solar-powered light fixtures for developing countries out of recycled soda bottles. What makes people love him, though, is the silliness and optimism he brings to his work. (Also, his adorable French accent.)
Fast Company: What about social media is inspiring for you?
JJ: Everything I do is my ideas. I never want to do something that wouldn’t be my ideas. What I love about the mobile space is from idea to execution there is, like, one week. People who make movies, it takes years. I was brainstorming with Ben Stiller about what to do for [a Zoolander 2 promo at Fashion Week in February], and two weeks later we were in Paris.
Is it hard to get big companies to move that quickly?
Two weeks is the time they need to ready a contract. But they have to learn. I think people finally realize that the mobile revolution is kicking up for video, and if they don’t jump on it they’re going to be left behind.
It seems like half your work with brands involves developing and shooting campaigns, and half is just teaching them how to advertise on mobile.
I definitely like to advise. If I’m not able to explain what I do and then teach it, it’s not fulfilling for me.
What do you try to teach them?
It’s mostly about being real. Big companies are not used to being real. They usually spend a lot of money in marketing not to be real, to sell an illusion. I’m really picky about who I work with because I realize the power of this [medium].
A big part of your brand is positivity. Why is that important to you?
It’s almost like I’m trying to undo what you see when you tune into CNN. It creates fears in people’s brain. I’m trying to spread the opposite, which is love. Even if my content is naive and childish, it connects to people. The question I always ask myself is, What if all my biggest idols–like Bob Marley and Nelson Mandela–had social media? What would they have done with it? And I don’t want to do any less than what they would have done.
Editor’s note: This post originally stated that Jarre worked with Major League Soccer, which was incorrect. We regret the error.