I am Plankton, Hear Me Roar!

by Jen Wittes January 20, 2018

Brush Hero appears on Shark Tank Sunday Jan. 21st and 9/8 central! Only on ABC!

In the marine ecosystem, the plankton plays a very important role - feeding the little fish larvae, the small fish; indirectly the bigger fish and whales and sharks!
In the Brush Hero Shark Tank experience, I am the plankton - though more feisty, less passive. I helped feed our big fish who bravely jumped into the deep end of the Shark Tank.

As the Director of Marketing and Communications, every next step in the audition process was a HUGE win, in my mind. I mean...Shark Tank!

After watching as many Shark Tank audition videos as I could, I wrote the audition script for the guys. The best videos seemed to be both funny and earnest, smart and clear. Bob helped me with a great, informative first draft. I used a lot of his Brush Hero info and enthusiasm. From there, I went with a joke thread that kind of made a "character" out of Glenn. Bob worried that poor Glenn would look like an ass and suggested that I tone the schtick down, or at least add a line or two in defense of his reputation.  Glenn is actually a really successful guy! He went to Yale!

Uh uh. "Nope," I said. I know marketing. And I took a comedy writing class in college.  Heeeyyyy Emerson! (Fonzie went there too and I never miss an opportunity to mention it.) 

Anyway. One classic rule of BOTH marketing and comedy is, "Go big or go home." You don't apologize. You don't explain your joke...or water it down. If it doesn't work, you learn from the mistake - but when going for it...you go for it! To my delight, Glenn was TOTALLY on board. Kudos to him for going for it!

The result was hilarious. I watched the guys tape via Skype and it was so much fun to see them bring the script to life. 

When we found out we'd made it to the next round, I was thrilled to hear that the producers liked the audition humor...plus our accessory product names! Naming our spin-off products is my very favorite part of my job. How satisfying to receive this kind of validation! Each little part of the ecosystem has their moment... 

We were given the go-ahead to submit the full application. I gathered all the parts and signatures, proofread like crazy and marched it down to Fed Ex like a good little plankton, fortifying the shark-bait hopefuls. Hello to the nice woman at Fed Ex in St. Paul! She promised to look out for Brush Hero, as she was a Shark Tank fan and was excited to play her part by sending off the application. 

Waiting and waiting, I became the biggest fan of this long shot, this daydream...Team Brush Hero on Shark Tank. I pestered my bosses, "I'm going, right? I mean...I'm not going to be on, but can I come to California too for moral support? You're going to need moral support."

Of course, I would go. Though I'm now in the Twin Cities, L.A. is my hometown. My mom lives there. And besides, there would be last minute pitch run throughs, mock Q and A, matching polo shirts to pick out. As the supreme ruler (uh...I mean plankton) of all things creative at Brush Hero, I would have to be there. Of course I would! The guys agreed.

But...

We got our taping dates - Yay! And they conflicted with a buyers' convention that Kevin and Glenn were slated to attend in Canada. 

We're a small team. We all do what we need to do to get by, covering for one another when need be. Soooo, while the guys were in L.A., I was in Tor onto at the Canadian Tire Products Parade, with Boy Wonder (Glenn's intern) Dylan. I can't say that I was completely thrilled. I can't even say that I didn't whine a little. THEY WERE TAPING SHARK TANK IN MY HOMETOWN! Come on! They even got to hang out with my mom!

I kept in close contact with the guys over the weekend. I was able to share in the excitement and provide moral support and somewhat helpful "what ifs" from the other end of the continent. 

Introducing the Brush Hero to the Canadian Tire buyers was actually pretty cool. Dylan had created an interactive fish tank (how apropos) display where we actually ran the Brush Hero off of a water pump. I sort of fell in love with our product all over again, watching people try it for the first time. The buyers LOVED the Brush Hero...and most of them couldn't believe it didn't run on electricity, because it's so powerful. 

Spending three days actually showing off the Brush Hero made me all the more excited for Kevin and Glenn to show it to the sharks! When Kevin's texts stopped coming in and my phone went silent, I was pretty sure they were in the tank. So exciting! It was a big exercise in letting go! No micromanaging of the words from our trade show booth to a closed set in California! And yet, I knew they were prepared. They had run through the pitch (a version of my original audition concept) maybe thousands of times. We had talked through almost every conceivable Shark Tank scenario. 

Just as the plankton supports the ecosystem, I must give a shout out to our fearless leaders. Though I played my little part in the road to Shark Tank, there's no way I could have handled the pressure of making on-the-spot business decisions while taping a major TV show! Everyone at Team Brush Hero is so proud of you, Glenn and Kevin!

It is with nervous excitement that I wait to finally watch our episode. Will it be a marketing home run or will I be doing damage control Monday morning? Tune in to ABC Sunday night to find out! 

Jen Wittes
Jen Wittes


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