In this zinger-filled episode, Tim Wilson and Brian Porter of Ernest Packaging - alongside their branding brain trust Scott Gardner of Liquid Agency - give host Michael Wilson a walk down memory lane, plus droplets of wisdom.
Listen and learn how Ernest Packaging defied the odds of economic downturn and the rise of e-commerce by leveraging quirk and creating a brand - plus a surfboard made from corrugated cardboard.
welcome to Studio 1400 where today's influencers gather to share market insights with the affluent family. I'm your host, Michael Wilson, and I'm asking you to sit back and enjoy the ride as we listen, learn and, of course, laugh to the voices that make our industry great. So in the athletic studio today, we got some very special guests. Celebrities. One might in fact call him in the packaging industry. Three members of the E team We got Tim Cornflake Wilson. Who
knew Who knew had new
got Brian Porterhouse Porter. Thank you. And of course, Scott. Jonah Vegas Gardener. What up? What up? What up? So welcome, guys. Thanks for coming to 1400 athlete place to spend a little time with us. Ah, Scott, you've been working with these guys for how many years? 12 years? And how did that relationships start?
I e I met. I
spoke at a conference that Nike about branding. And, uh, Mr Tim Wilson was the audience and he came up in her ask me in the food line and hand me a card. Wonderful liner sat on my desk for a while, and I finally said, you
know, maybe I should
visit this company and I went, walked in. I was like, Wow.
So you went from Nike and Silicon Valley to a paper and packaging call. There is a
paper company at the time.
Yeah. So what intrigued you about
that? I have no idea. I was just I just found it to be Is this Some told me
you're in l a Lee hostage was
helpful. Yeah, Yeah, I just I
don't know. I just felt I was in l. A. In fact, well, I'll go visit Diamond. And then when I walked in and saw the operation at Corporate, you know, 350,000 square foot warehouse people walking around like appeared very efficient, and I was like, Wow, this is interesting business. Learn about the history. And then we're like, Okay, now what we d'oh
and Tim, what sort of intrigues you about working with liquid on Scott's team?
Well, it all goes back, Thio. Frankly, in 2008 when the recession hit and everything was just thrown on, you know, off keel and we had to have learnt and figure out what to do to succeed in the basic problem. We had is a distributor is how do we sell someone else's brand but promote our brand at the same time? Right? And so I started
out of a quandary,
even to today, all right? And so literally I went in search of this. And, uh, when Scott spoke at the summit at the meet the Nike, uh, presentation, he challenged all of us. He had some questionnaires, and frankly, I just knew right away that he was the guy that I should have on my board of directors and really become the visionary. Moving forward and literally, I stalked him in line and, uh, came up to him and probably just freaked him out. But, you know, the knife wasn't that sharp that I was forcing.
Looking a bit. Yeah, a little bit, right?
Just drew a little blood. Well, before we get into all of the success of the e team that you guys were embarked on, Now let's talk a little bit about the cardboard chaos. That sort of, I guess, Was the initial jumping offer A lot of your video content that's gone viral over the years. So when did that? When did you guys first launch that Tim.
So, um, this goes again back to, ah brand and how we move forward in the cardboard. Chaos was actually, uh, very fortunate actually goes back to my neighbor who is signal snowboards, and they were trying to differentiate themselves from Burton everyone else. And so they created this episode called Every Third Thursday where they would do innovative new snowboards. And they came to us about a, uh, recyclable snowboard that they actually were thinking of selling to the slopes where you would basically rent a recycled snowboard that was sustainable. And you'd use it for the day and then you throw it away. Oh, disposable snowboard, right. Wow. And we were challenged by it, and we didn't expect it to go this, but it it served us in so many ways that it showed our creativity are designed. But it also served a wonderful purpose in the world because it was totally recyclable.
And that was the first of the series. Was the snowboard
correct? It was signals project every third Thursday, and then we said, Wow, this is unique enough. Do. And this is where Liquid came back and said, This is something we might want to jump off on. We went back to signal and said, Hey, can we re edit this down to be earnest Eyes? And they said, Yeah, and then we kept having Dave be the host of the program and he's the founder of it. And so that's, you know, it started with the snowboard that it was a surfboard, right?
So how many? What episodes would you call them?
Well, it's easy if it's a content Siri's so we'll create like snowboard was first, and then we did, um, surfboard. Then we did a kid's push bike, a recyclable push bike because it was a client. Then we did Tony Hawk skate on. We eventually got into fender guitar. So the irony of the Siri's, I believe, is, while that was going on with Tim, I was trying to find a way to create a content. Siri's about their innovations designed with clients, So we were trying to get into clients and find out how to tell stories. And to be honest, in some cases, they just weren't well to use the term. They just weren't that sexy. So I was like, Well, so it's kind of like design and innovation. The smallest Dina small lights really, really important, but the story's just didn't seem so. We didn't produce anything. And then Tim and I are having dinner. He said, Well, I have this neighbor and he wants to produce a paper snowboard And I was like, Well, that's something. And then we put that out there and we had 100,000 views within 30 days on the billboard on snowboard. That was the 1st 1 with very little promotion. And at the time we were happy. If we're getting thousands of use a year on our videos,
so you have the push bike and in the fender guitar right that you mentioned Surf Surf
Board was right after push by that that got hundreds of thousands of views. Now we're really onto something. And then we did Tony Hawk skate, and that one was, You know, that was the first time we started looking at the power of you know, the Earnest Bray out in its story, the interesting of the content. And then who else is associates? With Tony hiding and influence, we get influence. We got Tony Hawk, give us a couple, shout out so that one over a 1,000,000 views and they were like, Wow, we just now we're really onto something. And then Fender, which is still my favorite, is just such a dynamic story and that one over three million views in the 1st 90 days, and now that that is probably a bar, that's, you know, that one just went over and above any expectation.
So it's speaking to that day when you create these. Do you have any expectations? Do you said any expectations? You just like a Let's put the content out there and
go Well, I think we have our own expectations because we want to. We want to jump over the last one, which I think once you hit the level that fender has, which is over five million. Now it's a pretty tough when you end. That was also done mainly organic. Today's world you have to pay to a content scene. Back then, we had a pretty strong We still have a strong organic engine, but you're still seeing less returns without putting the investment behind. Ah, your contact
Dahlia. So offenders your favorite? Yes. What about you guys? Brian?
Um, each one becomes my favorite but I think go back to the fender one because of Lincoln Park, Right? And then Chester passing shortly after. That's right. Use of it. That was really forgot about that. Yeah, that was powerful. And they and they still I mean, they have that guitar with the 2nd 1 Makes a tour and stuff, but the main one that Mike Martinez helped design with Fender. It's locked that fender. It has a certificate certification from Made by fender. That's cool. Really?
That's rental. Plus, when you look a lift, right, think about the other lift we got. You know, we had Smithsonian call and want to see if he could get a guitar we had. Ah, you know, there we were at south by southwest in the paper and packaging boards, you know, right in the front. People want these artifacts, so they almost tour like like there's a rock star. They are.
But, uh, what about you, Tim?
You know, I I think the greatest for me, the most important thing is the greatest engineering challenge now on the drum set was took three years because it was so hard to do. And it's a cleat drum set Yeah, And we had, you know, Eric from Stone Temple Pilots. But what makes it so much more fun is the fact that we're getting people coming to us saying, uh hey, can you do this right? And these air celebrities coming to us like Tony Hawk actually came to us and said, If you do this, I'll write it. And we were like, really scared because, you know, if it broke, Yeah, that you don't want to be known for killing Tony,
get you a lot of use a lot of heat, right? So you've got these marketing investments that help promote your brand, your culture, that sort of thing. But how do you translate those views and that reach into growth into sales dollars into, um, we just play? Well, it's working. It's a good recipe. Um,
my father has me that question every day into
the room I saw, I saw him playing the drums, though, Is this really paying off this whole thing that we're doing here?
Well, I think the great thing is when you're working with a client and a brand and read to Tim and Ernest leadership, you know, they're they're making a long tail investment on Brand. And a lot of a lot of companies just don't have the vision. Brand is a long term play value, all the ancillary benefits. I mean, one thing we noticed early on when this company's gone from over 300 people over 500 people and completely overhauled, it's management's. A lot of leadership was come in saying, You know, I found out about you because of snowboard or the guitar or or another content piece and saying, I want to work for a company that does things like that, right? It's a recruiting tool. It's been It's been a little bit of everything right. It's been media extended media. We we've grown our social communities to a pretty large in our own media channels are, you know, in the tens of thousands now, so we have the ability to get messages out. The next stage, though for us is because of all the, uh, the paid requirements to to move next year, we're gonna be moving to shift more investment balance between creating content and actually paying to get it out there has gotta pay to play.
Sure, as in every mature outlet I guess,
right? I mean, we had the luxury of a pretty good run up of organic, though, and we were named Social Media Marker of the Year by the paper, the packaging industry, two years ago. So we feel like we've made a good mark
and and a credit to Scott to I mean, we've won six Addie's now one. We went, we won a regional, too. And, yeah, so I mean, it's really been a great partnership with Scott and his team as well.
Yeah, for liquid agency. We've won the Silicon Valley add awards, best to show through the last four years, and we have great clients. Walmart, Nike, all these clients. We wanted three last four years with Ernest Ernest projects packaging company. And we've actually one of the rosies in Portland, which is a very tough market with widening Kennedy and Nike. And we just won for, uh, Nike who e team and not hiring. So it's pretty. It's pretty amazing. The level of respect the work is getting in the industry.
It's it's cool, people doing cool things, and people gravitate toward that.
Well, it's it's liquid pushing us, because when when Scott came to us your packaging company. And but with Tim going, I want to be a relevant company. I don't want to just be a packaging company. I want to be Coca Cola, whatever. And then so pulling that from us and then challenging us with how do we make it better? Every year is something that's exciting. And that's what keeps happening is that we're not everyone. Hey, we're distributor where we saw boxes and shape and everything else. But we don't I mean, we are throwing the brand out there. Scott and the team at Liquid keep challenging us with meetings, and there's usually some libations are involved with that. But we come up with some amazing stuff that's just riff on and there we go.
Eso speaking of cool people, Is there anything cooler than the E team out there today? E team to We're going to get to that. So Brian talkto talk to us about how fun it is working on set with these guys and filming those
It's not it's not that fun. It looks here in the first team, one that they had me suspended in the I guess what we call our stunt coordinator guy who was there goes, we had, Ah, someone. I don't remember the actor's name. He goes He was in it for, like, 10 minutes started crying like a baby and one of the circus of the stars type of thing. And they had me just to spend it up in the warehouse for half an hour. Really? Down, up, down, up and down. So it's I mean, it was the first e team. We did it What? Technically, three working days that we actually filmed, but we're climbing up to the roof. Were running across are rough. Do this, Do that. Do this. We're all in costume, right? Yes. No stuffing, no stunt. People will tell it all. It was your own stunts, short window that we had to get everything done. And we're not actors, so, you know, we just went out, but Scott
wouldn't let us take the van and drive it off the dock, which we wanted to get some air.
Nice. Then we said, could we just go really fast off the ramp? It was a rental. I know.
Then you by all means you should have done it.
Drive it like you stole it. I love that you guys think
of literally everything in these campaigns from the Lincoln profiles that you guys have to the Facebook pages that porterhouse has. Um, Bob, it's even the bobbleheads. Robin have friends. I've got I've got a Tim Wilson and Brian Porter bobblehead. And I also have the van, right, And which is kind of cool? Um, the
Johnny Vegas ones, they're coming, But are they special? They're Special edition. Nice. We'll get you in the
extra extra bobblehead. So Ah, I gotta admit, though, the van kind of reminds me of the mystery machine, right? Yeah. So I think maybe Ugo, maybe I should do a Scooby Doo in next time. Well,
we have a way. We have the ah e
team to coming out in early next year in February, and we do have a new vehicle. I can't give it away here on the podcast. You can see it soon, right? Yeah, it's pretty cool.
So who would be Shaggy? Uh, Brian Probably have to be scrappy. Uh, Tim would be Freddie. Yes. Yeah. You could get a dog like you could go get the dog from, like, air bud. Remember that movie that played basketball. Be awesome,
you know? And we know the guy who produced those Siri's. Yeah, he made a lot of money producing about 1234 He has one with a monkey, too.
So you guys have won some awards for that as well, right? For a team?
Yeah, we won effect. We took home a rosy in Portland last year and a rosy as I said, It's a It's a really competitive market because the Portland advertising market with widen and all the action brands up there is tough. And, yeah, we won for E team and there was only five. Rosie's given out was like the best of class of different categories, and we walked away with one, and I was actually I was stunned because we've been in the Portland market for 12 years and it's it's really competitive. Is it? Yeah, it's tough.
I think it might be also good for people to understand why the E team and got could probably elaborate that and then are pivotal switch in e team to which is gonna be a little bit different but still just is crazy. Yeah, sure. You a hint with a turkey vulture just saying,
Well, gas mask. Yeah, yeah. I mean, way realize, going into every year, we do annual planning and we looked at going into 18 and we said, You know, we've got all these contents sarees and and they all have a specific purpose whether it's showing off, designing innovation or just getting awareness for the brand. But we didn't have anything that was really tied to solutions. And as a packaging distributor, because we're commodity based, we needed to find a way to get solutions out there. So we were just riffing with our creative team on what we could do, and they were earnest, and we're like, Oh, e team, I thought were inspired by the A team. We decided not to have a Mr T in this one. Um, and then it came this whole kind of cop cop, you know, fun docudrama of the seventies, right eighties. And then we just
started in there with that.
Yeah, Yeah. Then we had some drinks and wrote some scripts and concepts and then decide to shoot it. And, uh, these two became the leads, and they're acting capabilities air getting better
each other. So each one, though. I mean, I got to tell you, the quality is it's like a little movie. It really is something really acting.
So the 1st 1 the 1st 1 set the stage for we had just reorganized all of our offerings under four solution. Halos. So we built for films, each for a solution. This year, the Serie that's coming out is attacking really more core issues that are happening like e commerce. Ah, sustainability. So we're really building Siri's now that showoff. Kind of almost like special topics and pretty excited about that.
Okay, so more to come on. E team to is what you're calling.
Yes, I think the world debut is
February 5th, 2020 here, we're gonna go like, yeah, you know, we're gonna have a live event, and then we'll probably do some live out, and then the campaign will be out all over our digital properties.
Well, you guys were here in the studio is talking to the merging executive group about marketing and digital marketing specifically, and there's really no better, you know, member in our organization that does that like you guys do. So So kudos on all the success. Look forward to the E team to final question for you guys who comes up with these ideas. What's the process like? So I mean, this is
Here's what happened. Okay, Starts with a meeting with Scott. Tim and I may be one other liquid person. Usually not. It's the three. And then there's a component called something that soda and that sits there and we have two or three of those and it's good. It's like three or four, sometimes five. And Scott goes back to his team at Liquid, and then they take our little things that we've been shooting out and we we go on tangents, Tim, and I'll just start going. And Scott, no idea. Do this and do that. Explosions cars like are what we call our client automated specialist Tim and I. For three months. We're calling a master Automated System special, and I said was Kramer s. So we changed that name. Okay, He brings it all together, his team does, and then they come back and then we go back and forth and Tim will say, I hate it. I hate it. Hate it. Go away and come back with something better. Nice
I think it's, Ah, it's gonna have raised three Children so I could manage these two. Well, when they're in there, it's amazing they're running a big company. But I think the greatest thing about it, maybe it's the fact that Tim went to Beverly Hills High School. He's from L. A. But the entertainment aspect mean Brian, I think, is certified an actor by now. He could act better than most actors. We hire the just the energy they have around and a lot of its pop culture based. Sure, it's great you're riffing on pop culture, and we're just having a lot of fun. And I think the great thing about this brand is we want to be authentic and we always everything we do have seven piece we called Ernest Quirk so internally is like words. The quirk. And that's just that could be a copy line. It could be on Easter egg heading in something. We just gotta have work and everything we do that's on Brand,
because that's who you are. Yeah, for sure. Well, it's ah, it's commendable, that's for sure. Um and ah, kudos on all the success and more to come and I just hope to never run into porterhouse in a dark alley. Anyway, Thank you, gentlemen, for coming in today. Thanks. Thank you very much. Thanks for tuning in to Studio 1400 spending time here with us inside the friendly confines of the athletic H Q. If you liked our show today and want to find out more about what the earnest team is up to, check out their YouTube channel or visit them in earnest packaging dot com. And if you know a person you think wouldn't Boris to tears drop me their name any time A. W. M. Wilson at athlete dot com Cheers, everyone.