As expected, Dexter Fedor is stepping down as VP-creative director at Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, to join Disney (AA, Aug. 24) as VP-global brand development.
Mr. Fedor last week confirmed the move, but Disney declined to discuss it at press time, saying the company had not yet made any internal announcements.
VOICE OF BRAND MANAGEMENT
Mr. Fedor will be the voice of brand management as Disney takes its name, characters and content into new markets, including China, and into new segments, such as interactive media. The consumer products division oversees licensing of all Disney characters and content.
The executive also will have a key role in the division's advertising, as well as in the marketing efforts of Disney's licensees.
Mr. Fedor is not likely to be involved in the marketing efforts of Disney's TV, film and music divisions.
While it's no longer uncommon for Hollywood studios to take a brand management focus to their properties, Disney has both pioneered this approach and been the most aggressive.
Mr. Fedor starts his new job at the end of September. At Riney, he was a key creative on the Sprint PCS account, and his team just completed work on a new TV campaign for the brand. Last week, Mr. Fedor traveled to Kansas City, Mo., to assure Sprint executives his departure won't affect Riney's ability to handle the account effectively. The agency has begun a search to replace him.
Mr. Fedor has spent his entire career at ad agencies, starting at Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, in 1983. For most of his career, he has worked on establishing brand images for clients as diverse as Bank of America, Procter & Gamble Co. and Revlon.
The 39-year-old executive said he was drawn to Disney because the company is in the business of creativity.
"In advertising, you're always breaking apart every consumer into segments and it's always so hard-edged," said Mr. Fedor. "But in entertainment, it's about magic and overdelivering and exceeding the expectations of customers-guests, as Disney calls them. I'm better suited for a Disney than a Chase Manhattan."
That's not to say he sees his new job as all fun and games.
"The Disney brand is very strong, but you can't take anything for granted," he said. "If you look at the meaningful brands, the iconic brands in America, like Levi's and Nike, you realize you have to be very proactive in your stewardship of those brands."