Paul Hanges

 Paul Hanges has been CEO of online greeting card and social expression company JibJab since 2019.

Last year saw more digital celebrations than previous years due to COVID-19. Through the help of the online greeting card and social expression company JibJab, thousands were able to share the organization’s humor during birthdays and holidays.

“Our company’s mission is to make billions of people happy, and we alternately do it by allowing them to be funny as easily as possible by starring in their own greeting cards and funny pieces of content,” said JibJab CEO Paul Hanges.

“We prided ourselves on making it something where people can say happy birthday, happy anniversary, happy holidays in new and exciting and fun ways that put a smile on people’s faces. We are a direct-to-consumer product, and we solely focus on making things that make people laugh and make it easy as possible for them to share.”

Since the Downtown company’s founding in 1999, JibJab has been through recessions, wars and national scandals. Its year-in-review videos are well known and, after Hanges spoke with Chief Commercial Officer Mauro Gatti, they returned. 

“Looking at this year with the stay-at-home orders and the pandemic, that is not something that we can just gloss over or miss,” Hanges said. “We completely revamped how we produce cards in our timelines and was able to keep quality of cards, and content and produce that in a lead time of two weeks and put it out there.

“We pride ourselves on quality of our cards, not quantity, but one of the downsides of that is that they take a long time to produce. One of our holiday cards could take up to two or three months to produce.”

The 2020 year-in-review video includes topics like Brexit, the president’s impeachment, “Tiger King,” murder hornets and stay-at-home orders in a less than 2-minute video.

One of the top-shared e-cards in 2020 was the company’s original song and production of “Happy Quarantine Birthday” that launched in April. Nearly 350,000 people put themselves in the e-greeting card to be sent around the country last year.

“It is still something that we all can laugh about and bring a smile to people’s face and when people are at home and celebrating their birthdays by themselves or only with their immediate family, we felt it important … to make light of a situation and allow people to say happy birthday in a fun way,” Hanges said.

Other holiday cards that had a 50% or higher use increase from 2019 to 2020 include Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Office humor decreased by 7% in one year. 

“The one (e-card from 2020) that sticks out to me is again another original that we created called pumpkin spice latte just as the fall season was turning,” Hanges said. “It just talks about the obsession that everyone has with pumpkin spice lattes and when that favorite drink item comes back on the menu everywhere.”

JibJab regularly collaborates with musicians to offer its customers the option of starring in one of their music videos. Some songs include “Yummy” by Justin Bieber, “Together” by Sia and “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo.

“A lot of times we make (songs from well-known musicians) into our e-cards and use holiday music or other music to be the background to our original cards, and then there’s other times where we work with artists just to make it so our users can star in music videos,” Hanges said.

One of the last collaborations of 2020 was with K-pop star Jamie Park, for her holiday song “5 Christmas Languages.”

“We’ve always seen the rise and appeal of K-pop music and had the really exciting opportunity to work with Jamie Park, who has a music video that was released for the holidays,” Hanges said. “We think it’s a really cool and exciting venture for us into this genre of music that historically we haven’t fully ventured into but that we are really excited about.”

Through all of the hardships of 2020, Hanges believes that his team “adapted extremely well” to the work-from-home environment and was ultimately “very proud of every single employee” through it all.

“I was a bit apprehensive that we would be able to keep the collaborativeness of the company while not seeing each other. It’s actually something that we have thrived in, and we’ve produced more content than we ever have in the past,” Hanges said.

Hanges hopes his team will continue its hard work ethic into 2021 and continue to “make people feel happy.”

“We are proud looking back at 2020,” Hanges said. 

“We are also proud to have played even the smallest role into making people feel connected while stuck at home while allowing our users to make other people laugh by receiving a funny video or happy birthday card from their significant other or kids getting those cards. 

“Obviously, we hope that we have much happier times in 2021, when we can even accelerate that and have fun on top of fun. That’s ultimately what we’re looking for and then expanding what we’re doing to touch more people’s lives to allow them to say happy birthday or send a gift or anything else in the classic JibJab style.”

For more information about JibJab or to create an ecard go to jibjab.com.