Many have called the lovely city of Atlanta home: Whitney Houston, the elegant and dignified cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and, of course, Kris Zagoria, CEO and founder of Moxie Interactive. This month marks the ninth anniversary of the shop. Launched with just five employees. the team has expanded to 285, with outposts in New York and Los Angeles, and is under the Publicis Groupe umbrella after being acquired by ZenithOptimedia in 2006.
OMMA chatted with Zagoria about her favorite Web sites (The New York Times, BBC and Creativity Online are just a few), Moxie's choice travel destinations (on Moxie's Web site, she's endorsed Miraval Health Spa Resort in Arizona and boasted that Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., is "the best place ever to see live music") and why, exactly, her agency's mascot is a poisonous amphibian that the staff allows to breed in the lobby.
Hello, Kris. What was the first thing you did this morning?
It's never the same. I try to wake up before my daughter does so I can take a 45-minute ride outside Atlanta (with a cup of coffee) to ride my horse. Horses have been a passion of mine since childhood. For several years now I have been competitive in dressage, which is training your horse to do a series of complex movements while making it appear effortless. It's a great stress release.
You say that Moxie reaches all screens - which is the most important right now?
Maybe it's not the most important, but definitely the hottest right now is mobile. There's so much going on as far as new technologies and new platforms that it's opening the door for some really fun and unexpected ways to reach an audience. You've got the emotional connection of video combined with the interactive aspect of the Internet, plus location-based awareness, all in one personal communication device. It's unprecedented to allow people such power, access and connectivity. We're just beginning to grasp the impact.
Why did you choose a frog to be Moxie's mascot?
Ronald Gagliardo from the Atlanta Botanical Garden helped us establish a poison-frog sanctuary in the lobby of our Atlanta office to greet visitors. It's a beautiful vivarium that houses green, black and orange frogs that are native to Costa Rica and Brazil.
Our Moxie frogs were born in captivity and are slightly different from the ones found in the wild because they're nontoxic. In the wild, the frog's diet causes poisonous excretions to come through their skin. But since our frogs are fed a diet of farm-raised insects, they're not poisonous. Currently we have 16 frogs in our vivarium (12 are green with black spots and four are orange) but you never know when we'll get more. One morning, we were surprised to find several new additions hopping around.
Ron and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, along with Zoo Atlanta, are helping fight an emerging infectious disease known as the amphibian chytrid fungus, which is wiping out massive numbers of amphibians around the world. This disease is unstoppable in the wild but is treatable in captivity. It's such an honor to know we are helping maintain a species that are fighting for their lives. And research has shown a direct correlation to global warming. We've helped create a microsite, saveafrog.com, to help educate and support this challenge.
What prompted you to create the go.moxieinteractive.com feature on Moxie's Web site?
Every year we send out a holiday gift to our clients from our entire staff - everyone pitches in and contributes in some way. In the past we have done a cookbook full of family recipes and a book called Our Favorite Things, about our favorite Web sites.
This year, we sent out a travel guide of all of our favorite places across the country, which we incorporated into this site so you can reference it on the go. We took all the staff's input and integrated it into Google Maps. If you were flipping through the book and found an interesting place, you can type in the number code from the book entry and you are quickly shown where it is on the Google Map. We'll continue to grow this map as new employees join the team.
What's the next big digital trend?
That's the multimillion-dollar question.