When I First Met Tony Gwynn

During this past week of memorials for Tony, I had time to reflect on the first time I met the man. I was an art director working at Franklin Stoorza on the Padres account in 1987, and of course, we wanted to feature our star. I learned days earlier that the only way Padres management was going to allow us to photograph players was on the field, during batting practice, just prior to game time. Despite my objections, that’s how we did it.

The photographer, his assistant and I arrived early and set up a white backdrop behind home plate. Once lit, I was told we’d have to photograph everyone on the team in groups so as not to rile the players who wouldn’t be featured in the marketing. So we did, group after group, until we finally had Gwynn, Benito Santiago, John Kruk and Garry Templeton. I’m pretty sure the rest of the team knew what was going on.

From before we started until after all photos were taken, Tony was hanging around us and the dugout, making jokes and being quite at ease (more so than I thought for pre-game warm-up). Although I didn’t realize at the time that we were the same age, I found Tony easy to approach and talk to about a variety of subjects. While others scowled and looked quite displeased about our pre-game intrusion, Tony kept things light and even softened a few guys up.

A couple weeks later I had Tony in a studio for a photo shoot that would feature him, and some of his awards, on a season schedule poster. Again, the mood was light and professional. I’ve since had the pleasure of working with many celebrities and athletes, but few as genuinely human as Tony Gwynn.

Blaise Nauyokas

For fun, here are some of the campaign materials from that year. Note the very late 80s use of Futura Bold Condensed 🙂


Kulesh Tone Rings, 20 Years Later

It’s amazing to note that BrainShine created these ads 20 years ago! Richard “Dick” Kulesh was a friend and fellow music lover who asked for some help promoting his new line of banjo tome rings to the public and the industry. Dick was a wiz with metal and had become the sole supplier of banjo tone rings to Gibson just a couple years earlier. With this offering, Dick was looking to create an affordable but innovative ring to rival the sound of his top sellers.

With text like “Imagine the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century after a long day of relativism pulling out his five-string and relaxing with a little Cripple Creek” (Einstein) or “In every element of his life (particularly alternating rolls, slides and pull-offs) here is a man who seeks out purity” (Pope John Paul), these ads really spoke to the banjo enthusiast. Thanks to Guy Hufferd for his great copywriting!

Since then, Dick, and eventually his son, manufactured rings for use in Gibson and Rich & Taylor banjos and have sold countless numbers to private luthiers and individuals throughout the world. These coveted 10-hole rings now sell in excess of $200, and have solidified the Kulesh rings as some of the best ever made. We’re glad we could help!


Tweets, Likes, and Shares Don’t Make Us Buy Stuff, Americans Say

Most Americans say social media has zero influence on their purchasing decisions, according to the results of a Gallup poll published today. That may be welcome news to every small business owner who thinks that managing a Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), or Pinterest account is too time-consuming, distracting, or otherwise confangling to be worth the effort.

Only 5 percent of Americans said social media has a great deal of influence on what they buy, according to Gallup, which polled more than 18,000 U.S. adults for its new State of the American Consumer report. Thirty percent said social media has some influence, and 62 percent said it has no influence whatsoever.

Millennials reported being more swayed by likes and tweets than older generations, but not by much: Seven percent of those born after 1980 said social media has a big influence, and 43 percent said it has at least some effect on what they buy. Those numbers are based on polls conducted in December 2012 and January 2013 and published today.

The news could validate Main Street’s skeptical regard for online marketing, an attitude that extends beyond social media to more basic strategies. More than half of small businesses don’t even have a website, according to the Associated Press.

It’s also possible, of course, that respondents to the Gallup poll underestimate the effect that the never-ending stream of social media posts has on them. “U.S. companies spent a combined $5.1 billion on social media advertising in 2013, and they obviously believe that this presents them with a return on investment,” Gallup reported.

A Nielsen (NLSN) survey from last year suggests that social media can be a potent tool for small businesses. In that survey, respondents said they regard social media ads with a low level of trust relative to more traditional forms of advertising. But the same survey found that two of the most trusted types of marketing were word-of-mouth recommendations and consumer opinions posted online—both of which seem like short conceptual jumps from a Facebook or Twitter post.

By Patrick Clark | June 23, 2014 | Bloomberg Article

RIP Tony Gwynn

We had the great pleasure of working with Tony on two occasions – once with the Padres, and later when he teamed with San Diego Telephone. I’ve never known a more gracious athlete and celebrity who in spite of his greatness on the field, never let that get in the way of his generous personality.