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Kay Dangaard

1956 - 1958

For her creative and pioneering use of internet technologies to enhance corporate marketing strategies.

 

Born in Wellington, Kay (Hooper) Dangaard received her secondary education at Wellington Girls’ College. 

Kay has had a distinguished career first as a journalist and then later in very senior roles in the public relations and marketing divisions of  large  corporations such as Columbia Pictures and amazon.com. As a journalist Kay worked in South Africa, the United States and Hongkong. She was one of the first, if only, Western female writer to cross into Mainland China at the height of the Cultural Revolution.  In her public relations and marketing role Kay was Vice President of Advertising, Publicity and Promotion for Columbia Pictures Television.  
 In 1987 she became interested in emerging internet technology and accepted, when asked by a group of young “techies” in Marina del Rey, California, to launch THE SPOT, the first episodic show on the World Wide Web. Kay created and implemented what has since become known in technology circles as the first viral marketing campaign.  Her on-line launch campaign resulted in a record-breaking audience to a website. 

 In early 1997, one year after the launch of THE SPOT Kay was approached by  Jeff Bezos the founder of a then start-up company, Amazon.com  to become Chief Spokesperson and Director of Press Relations for amazon.com. In this position Kay was responsible for the development and implementation of global corporate, financial and consumer publicity.  “The next three plus years I was running on strong Seattle coffee and pizzas,” she says. 

 By May of 1997 the company had gone through a highly successful Initial Public Offering and Dangaard and Jeff Bezos  began travelling the world as the company launched sites in Britain, Europe and Asia.  That August amazon.com proposed putting a short story writing contest on-line inviting users of the site to compete to add a paragraph a day until the story was complete. Amazon.com editors would select the best paragraph entered each day and add it to the story. Looking for a media-hook Kay came up with the idea of pulling in an American literary giant to begin the story.  She sought assistance from the publisher-relations unit at amazon.com and they landed for her Pulitzer Prize winning author John Updike.  

 After “retiring” from amazon.com  Kay Dangaard returned to Los Angeles. She currently is a director on the board of AvaWorks, a privately held Santa Monica, California corporation. The company owns patented technology enabling the transmission of avatars/sprites to mobile devices.  She is also a director on the board of Cyber Oasys Corporation, located in Santa Monica, California.   Kay has served as Vice-Chairman on the Board of Directors of Young Artists International.  As benefactress she personally underwrote concerts that enabled young award-winning musicians from twenty countries to perform at Disney Concert Hall in 2004 and 2005.  In 1995 Kay produced the first Webby Awards, held at the famed Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the first Academy Awards.
 Kay Dangaard has been a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences since 1983

 Kay is currently resident in the United States but comes back to New Zealand regularly.