Michael Desmarais

Insights Savant

Los Angeles, CA

As one of the company’s vice presidents, Michael guides Smarty Pants’ top entertainment, food & beverage and toy & game clients through their most pressing business challenges. From front-end innovation research to strategic consulting on marketing best practices, he applies his business and consumer expertise across industry, lifestage and business need for clients including Amazon, Spin Master, Paramount, Target and Bazooka Candy Brands.​​

Michael has been leading consumer insights research for more than 25 years on both the supplier and client sides. His skills span qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods as well as brand strategy. His DNA is equal parts thinker, doer and leader — a roll-up-your-sleeves professional who is a phenomenal moderator, data analyst and client partner. (Did we mention he’s one of our former clients?)

Michael’s research expertise lies in brand positioning, brand innovation, product/service development and evulation of advertising and content. ​


Before joining Smarty Pants in 2021, Michael spent more than 13 years at Paramount in senior positions across multiple brands and on two coasts. His most recent position was as vice president at Paramount Pictures, where he was responsible for designing, executing and implementing market research and consumer insights for all of the studio’s domestic motion picture releases. Prior, he led consumer insights and strategy across some of the company’s leading entertainment brands including MTV, VH1, CMT and LOGO.​

Michael began his media and research career as a Strategic Planner at DMB&B Advertising in NYC. He went on to be a brand planner at Grey Advertising before assuming the title of director at branding giant Interbrand – in both their New York and London offices. Michael later served as a director at Henley Centre HeadlightVision, a strategic consultancy and global market research firm (now part of Kantar). ​


Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Catholic University and his master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.​


Born and raised in Rhode Island, Michael has lived in Washington, DC, Chicago, New York City and London. He and his partner currently reside in Los Angeles with their beagle-dachshund-chihuahua mix, Bob. As a big fan of the arts, Michael loves visiting museums, seeing plays and watching virtually anything at the Hollywood Bowl.

Fun Facts

  • Avid tennis player and fan who was able to fulfill his life-long dream of attending Wimbledon​
  • Loves podcasts of all kinds, particularly pop culture and politics​
  • Has visited over 20 countries and has fantasies of moving to Japan to become a wood carver​
  • Proud volunteer at Los Angeles’ LGBT Center​
  • An amateur crime fighter in college, he worked as McGruff the Crime Dog and gave congressional staffers tours of federal prisons​