John Moshay '85

Law Man

By Phyllis Graber Jensen

Do pay attention to that man behind the screen — behind your computer screen, that is. John Moshay ’85 is principal of the a

ward-winning DNA Studio,, a Beverly Hills-based marketing firm that’s gained fame for creating Web sites and other digital marketing strategies for high-profile entertainment and consumer-products clients.

DNA-produced Web sites, packed with interactive games, video clips, music, and other goodies, all have one goal: broaden the consumer’s experience. While 30 years ago Mr. Whipple put the squeeze on literal-minded consumers by fondling Charmin, today marketing is less about the product and all about relationships, Moshay says. Give customers positive experiences with a brand and they behave accordingly. They buy.

In the 1990s, DNA created online marketing strategies primarily for movies and television. When the Jurassic Park movies thundered through theaters, it was DNA that teamed with Universal Studios to create Jurassic Park Institute,, a dinosaur education and resource Web site. As other Web marketing companies went extinct during the market crash in 2000, DNA’s Hollywood connections helped it cruise along, creating online content for movies like Traffic, the Harry Potter series, Charlie’s Angels, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The company’s Tinseltown success led consumer-product giants such as Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, and Nissan to request similar online marketing plans predicated on giving consumers specific experiences around their brands. The site is pure DNA: catchy techno-plunk background music and a clicker’s paradise of eye and ear candy: movie trailers, music mixes, and concert information; extended “True” movie shorts; a page to upload, animate, and e-mail personal photos; offers of your own e-mail address; and, oh yeah, some beer information.

Most Recently, Moshay has dipped his corporate toe into new waters by producing a five-set DVD series for wannabe ecdysiasts (strippers, that is). Hosted by the well-known TV personality, Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease teaches the basics of erotic dance paired with a serious cardio workout. A DNA release says it’s meant to “decrease inhibition and waist size.” Conan O’Brien, interviewing Electra on his late-night show, could only giddily pronounce it “ingenious!”

Confident, tailored, and friendly, Moshay is at the top of his game. His three-floor, 100-employee Beverly Hills office overlooks Rodeo Drive: Exclusive shops, restaurants, and palm trees provide tony context for the DNA Studio’s home base, with outposts in New York, Atlanta, and most recently, St. Louis. Top-flight Sony electronics, an oversized bottle of Absolut vodka (a client), and a friendly assistant eager to do his bidding are all within arm’s reach.

Variety, the industry chronicle, declared awhile back that “John Moshay lives on the Internet.” Actually, he resides in Laurel Canyon, with his English wife — A-list Hollywood publicist Bumble Ward, who handles publicity for DNA — and their two children, daughter Honor (8) and John (14).

A rhetoric major at Bates, Moshay acted and argued for the Brooks Quimby Debate Society under the tutelage of the late and legendary Bob Branham. Upon graduating, the Hollywood native returned home to work in his family’s clothing business, A-4 Authentic American Athletic Apparel. After assuming the firm’s presidency, Moshay founded DNA Studio in 1995 with two partners with film studio backgrounds.

“We were completely enamored of the Internet,” Moshay told Variety. “People told us we were insane, but it was hard to look at the medium and not realize how significant it was becoming.” His interest has always been in communications, says Moshay. “DNA’s growth stems directly from the skills I developed through the rhetoric program at Bates.”