The Artists of 505: Marketers in the Making


Zachary Ninomiya

The Matterhorn Mountain was the site of an activity that educated the students on the importance of advertising.

Zachary Ninomiya, Photojournalist/Cartoonist

It’s a known fact that Disney has established itself as “the happiest place on Earth,” as well as one of the largest successful conglomerates in the world. These titles make Disney the perfect role model for young business students. On Friday, March 22, 2019, through Disney’s Youth Education Series (YES), the Advanced Commercial Art class went on an excursion to Disneyland in order to learn about Disney’s strategies for multinational success and apply those skills to their own marketing aspirations.

“By going on this trip, students are exposed to various marketing and business strategies,” Ms. Fritz (Staff)

explains. “It helps them see an application of graphic design and branding used in a successful industry setting.”

Commercial Art is a class that revolves around production and marketing. Over the duration of the year, students acquire skills such as screen printing and product design. Students use these acquired skills to create a brand under which they make products. From shirts to buttons to stickers, the YLHS Commercial Art Class creates it all. These skills are required for success in the class, all of which culminates in the creation of a market booth for display at the YLHS Art Show at the end of the year.

Kate Shepherd (12), a student who is currently enrolled in this class, describes her experience in this class as “a lot of hard work that’s a lot of fun because everyone helps each other out.”

Commercial Art students who decide to progress their brand for another year enroll in the Advanced Commercial class. Advanced Commercial involves a more rigorous schedule and stricter deadlines. Furthermore, Advanced Commercial is expected to pass on the knowledge and techniques that they learned in the previous year down to the next year’s Commercial Art class. However, despite the heavy workload, the Advanced Commercial class remains passionate in their pursuits.

Due to their artistic ambitions, the Advanced Commercial class was chosen to go on a field trip to Disneyland to learn about its marketing and production strategies. They learned about the Imagineers and the role that they took in shaping the park. For instance, the cracks in Frontierland’s pavement are intentionally placed there to enhance the immersive quality of Disney’s separate lands. The transition between each park marks a turn of a storybook page, with each individual land telling its own story. Some of the most unseeming aspects of Disneyland possesses a purpose. Even the rides tell their own stories, often through the perspective of a main character. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, for example, rarely shows the titular character himself, for the ride is told from Pinocchio’s first-person perspective. Even the red bricks in Main Street symbolize the start of a story by emulating a red carpet. Why was there such an emphasis on storytelling?

The answer is simple: marketing itself is a story; a story that sells a brand to the world. Much of the YES leaders’ teachings revolve around this very concept. For instance, the YES leaders emphasized the importance of the “Five W’s and One H.” For every brand, there must be an establishment of the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of a story. As part of the lecture, the Advanced Commercial class almost got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s upcoming Star-Wars-based land. Unfortunately, this sneak peek of sorts was never meant to be, for it concealed a lesson on anticipation, the arch nemesis of eager consumers.

A story is ineffective if nobody reads it, and marketing is the same way. The YES leaders explained the importance of advertising and promotion to spread these stories. To give a hands-on demonstration of the various types of marketing, the Advanced Commercial partook in photo challenges, simulating the media attention (and free advertising) that Disney earns when people post pictures of their experiences on social media platforms.

After all the learning was done, the class got the opportunity to spend the rest of the day having fun in the parks. Alyssa Pepito (12) reflects on the experience, stating that “it was an amazing experience that taught me how to more effectively advertise my company and products.”