Timothy de Waal Malefyt is a Clinical Professor at the Gabelli School of Business. Previously, he held senior positions in advertising agencies where, as a corporate anthropologist, he applied anthropological and cultural approaches to consumer research for developing brand and strategic insights.
As former vice president, director of cultural discoveries for BBDO Worldwide advertising in New York City, Dr. Malefyt led a global in-agency strategic research group that explored the meaning of brands and consumption from a consumer perspective for the range of BBDO clients including financial services, food industry, packaged goods, health and beauty, automotive, digital communications and technology. The companies that his group generated insights for included AT&T, Campbell's soup, eBay, FedEx, GE, Gillette, HBO, J&J, Masterfoods, New Balance, P&G and PepsiCo. Before leading the insight group at BBDO, Dr. Malefyt held a position as senior account planner at D'Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles advertising in Detroit, where helped generate insights for the successful relaunch of the Cadillac automobile brand.
Dr. Malefyt received his master's degree and PhD in cultural anthropology from Brown University and his undergraduate degree in psychology from Fordham College at Lincoln Center. He was also the recipient of both Fulbright and NSF research grants to study flamenco performance and symbolism in Spain. Prior to Brown, Dr. Malefyt was a professional ballet dancer with the Joffrey Ballet School and performing company.
He has co-authored and co-edited four academic press books, Magical Capitalism (2018); Ethics in the Anthropology of Business (2017); Advertising and Anthropology (2012); and Advertising Cultures (2003). He often is quoted in popular media, including Bloomberg Businessweek, USA Today and The New York Times, and he has appeared on ABC News. He presents papers at The American Anthropology Meetings, Society for Applied Anthropology and EPIC conferences.