From Disney to dessert, what I had originally planned to be a usual Thursday morning turned out to be quite unusual in the best of ways.
It’s not every day that someone like the Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing for the Walt Disney Company comes to visit campus … Just kidding – it’s pretty normal for speakers like the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop or Senior Vice President of Products at Google to make appearances on campus at WashU. Just last week the Chinese Student Association hosted Eddie Huang, author of the memoir-turned-sitcom Fresh off the Boat as part of the Student Union Speaker Series and WashU Assembly Series, and Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, New York Times best selling author of the books Intern and Doctored and Washington University School of Medicine graduate, presented a guest lecture for my MedPrep class.
Last Thursday* I had the chance to attend a presentation by Dexter Fedor titled “How to Sell 1 Story in 100 Countries,” which focused on the anthropology of Hollywood. We learned about the differences between brand ambassadors like Mickey Mouse and Shrek, compared amusement parks like the Magic Kingdom and Six Flags, and even went so far as to compare the subtle differences between Disney theme parks located in the Americas versus Asia. We then discussed how the contexts of East and West determine how a movie trailer or poster might be portrayed, which lead us into the “Princess Phenomenon” and anthropology’s role in the universality of Disney characters like Cinderella. The presentation ended with a tie into predictive marketing, and the final moral of the story: Entertainment is (or, at least should be) a transforming experience.
Currently Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of WSS Footwear, Fedor was one of the first students at WashU to earn a dual bachelor’s degree in art and business. Not only did he launch case-study campaigns for the original Levi’s® 501 Blues and the California Dancing Raisins, but he also serves as a testament to the possibilities available to WashU students after graduation. That’s pretty cool. By the way, breakfast was served at the presentation … that’s pretty cool, too.
Afterwards, I had about two hours to kill. I used a bit of that time to catch up on reading for my Cognitive Neuroscience class, until I received a fortuitous at 11:09 AM text asking, “Are you free to get ibbys dessert rn haha.”
(Indeed I was)
WashU Fun Fact #6: Since 1953, the Assembly Series has presented more than one thousand people representing some of the most important voices of our time. Over the decades they were our leaders and visionaries, pioneering scientists and genre breaking artists, public intellectuals and performers, Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, Supreme Court justices and entrepreneurs.