The Economics of Star Wars

Project Name: “The Economics of Star Wars”
Campus Partner: School of Engineering & Applied Science

Washington University is constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to innovative research. Engineering professor Zachary Feinstein’s research is just one example of this, applying his financial engineering expertise to the computational modeling of infectious disease, financial networks, and power transmission systems. To better convey this unique insight to a general audience, we teamed up with Professor Feinstein to put his work into a popular culture context, producing a story and video, “The Economics of Star Wars: How the Empire Collapses.” We then addressed the challenge of publicizing this work, releasing the story in the context of the cultural boom surrounding the latest Star Wars movie’s launch.

Public Affairs transformed a complicated topic like financial engineering into a conversation the larger community could understand and enjoy.

Our team adopted a targeted approach of pitching to Marketplace, which picked up the story, and from there, it went viral. By constructing a well thought-out media list based on sources covering the new Star Wars movie, we gained additional coverage at The Washington Post, DailyMail.com, Huffington Post, NBC News, and more. The video we created to convey Feinstein’s findings garnered over 11,000 YouTube views as well. Ultimately, Public Affairs transformed a complicated topic like financial engineering into a conversation the larger community could understand and enjoy.

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