Some Like It HorseyFebruary 9, 2015
By Jess Wangsness,
I’m a horsey gal. My mom – also a doctor and therefore incapable of following the advice of other doctors – rode her trusty steed during my entire nine-month stint in utero. She called that horse “Dynamite.” True to form, he spooked at a pigeon in month nine, and my mom tumbled from the saddle. So you could say that horses were my hobby since my time before time.
Up until four years ago, I owned a horse, traveled the mighty Midwest in search of horse shows and experienced my fair share of tumbles — on my own terms.
Once upon a time in college, a gent I knew told me I looked like a horse. And he meant it as a compliment. I didn’t believe him.
Once upon another time, a friend with a penchant for philosophical midnight ramblings told me my spirit animal was a horse.
When I was seven, I spent all summer galloping around the backyard, jumping over cardboard boxes, rolled-up chicken wire and garden rocks.
So I’m ready to join the herd of Fast Horses in the stable. And I’ve been ready since my time before time.
Prior to Fast Horse, I was the first internal social-media strategist hired by General Mills – and I had an opportunity to work on two very different brands: first Pillsbury and then Nature Valley. One is a recipe-driven brand that aims to give moms a million ways to use dough as a blank dinnertime canvas, while the other is an outdoor lifestyle brand that encourages people to spend time among flora and fauna.
Despite the differences, both brands honed my creative chops: I came up with an idea to build a dining-room-table-sized football stadium out of dough and snacks for Pillsbury’s Game Day campaign, and the almighty Snackadium was born. After our team discovered a photo of Nature Valley granola bars shared by Questlove on Instagram (which he stole from Lady Gaga), I wondered aloud, “What would happen if we made him a bow tie out of granola-bar crumbs?” The bow tie was made – along with a granola crown for Jimmy Fallon and a granola tiara for Lady Gaga. And. Then. Questlove. Wore. The. Bow. Tie. On TV. And it was awesome. I also discovered a fanbase of Japanese anime fans on Twitter who really love granola bars – and who also love photoshopping granola bars into scenes from Japanese manga. Buzzfeed even got in on the adventure.
Those are some of my proudest professional moments. But carving out an expertise in social media and digital storytelling happened by accident. I’ve also played the part of PR manager for a small advertising shop, magazine editor, college composition instructor and horse stall mucker-outer. Now that I’m at Fast Horse, I’m excited for the next round of great adventures.
Horses. It all comes back to horses.