My name is Zach O’Neal, and I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas/Fort Worth in Southlake, Texas. Exactly one year ago this week, I made the best decision of my life by resigning from my national Marketing Manager job at Fox Corporation to pursue working for The Mouse in the wonderful world of entertainment. Currently, I serve as the go-to person for global Subscriber Engagement strategies surrounding our top-tier product titles, which include major releases from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney+ Animation, and National Geographic. Additionally, I craft the engagement strategies and “voice” to the consumer for our major product feature releases on service, most notably (and recently) GroupWatch and Premier Access.
- My favorite thing about Disney+ is that we are constantly releasing new content that spans across all 5 brands and resonates with so many people from all walks of life. There’s truly something for everyone on Disney+, and it’s certainly not “just for kids,” as some might think. We use data-driven decision making to promote these titles for optimum engagement — meaning we work smarter, not harder, to achieve our growth and engagement goals. It’s an incredibly refreshing experience to work for a company that is subscriber-centric at its core.
- The best part about living in New York is the ability to try something new — no matter what time of day, or season of the year. This could mean a new activity, a new scenic view to explore, or a new cuisine or local restaurant to try. It’s unbelievable how many options we have at our fingertips – even socially-distanced during the pandemic.
The WORST part about living in New York has to be the insane income tax rate (boring, I know, lol).
- It wasn’t necessarily hard to transition from Texas, because I grew up always knowing that I wanted to live somewhere fast-paced and exciting – however, the size of apartments (and cost of apartments) can and will certainly be jarring to newcomers, but you get used to it very quickly. I’ve learned that sometimes luxury buildings, bougie amenities, and expansive space really isn’t all that intrinsically fulfilling – so, New York definitely put my priorities into perspective.
- Failure is synonymous with growth in my book. If you’re not failing – you likely aren’t taking enough risks and opportunities, weather that’s in terms of personal or professional development. In terms of a personal set-back, though, I look no further than the year I made the split-decision to leave New York to move to back Dallas, taking a high-paying marketing position in the Private Equity space. Two months into that job, I knew I made a critical mistake — which was prioritizing comfortable, frivolous expenditures and a more “lavish” lifestyle over my intrinsically fulfilling career decisions. Within 9 months, I made the move back to New York. I look at that year (weight gain, mass stress, emotional duress) as a period of true growth, as well as a pivotal proverbial fork in the road for how to approach my career and personal life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything – no matter how terrible it was.
- For people who are interested in getting into the TV/Film Industry, my biggest piece of advice is to start working on having thick skin and be ready to rebound when your ideas (no matter how great they may be) are shot down.
Hearing the word “no” is part of the vocabulary around here.
- This is a no-nonsense industry with no-nonsense types of people. However, there are some of the most motivating, intelligent, inspiring, and all-around fabulous colleagues that are waiting for you once you decide to make that leap.
- Some of my most memorable career experiences come from my time at Fox. I did experiential marketing as a portion of my role there, which is definitely (in my opinion) the most fun aspect of the entire marketing wheel. All over the span of one year, I successfully executed experiential marketing campaigns for The Daytona 500, The Talladega NASCAR Race, The Patriot Awards (first ever nationally-televised, Fox-owned awards show). Within Disney+, I was in charge of executing a top secret marketing campaign that ended up being none other than the folklore Long Pond Studio Sessions by Taylor Swift — which was a big moment for me. Additionally, I’ve done the go-to-marketing engagement strategies for other big titles like Hamilton, SOUL, The Mandalorian, and WandaVision — there is no feeling like watching those strategies come to life.
I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for this experience.
- I’m more of an audiobook fan than a reader, but a book that I cannot recommend enough to literally anyone: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.
- There are PLENTY of exciting things coming to Disney+ in the near future… but you’ll have to wait until we announce them to find out :). As of now, I’m most excited for Cruella, Luca, and Black Widow — all coming in the next few months directly to Disney+!