Lightning in a Paint Can

Question: When does paint in a can become lightening in a bottle?

Answer: At 1 million+ TikTok subscribers

We recently talked about Tony Piloseno, a former Sherwin-Williams employee and TikTok superstar who was recently fired from Sherwin-Williams for posting videos about his passion, paint. It didn't matter that Tony had a million and a half followers or had videos with a million views; what was important was the integrity of the brand, blah, blah, blah.

Listen to Tony's story and why companies need to wise-up to the fact that empowering employees on social media might actually be a good thing. Powered by Symphony Talent, where your company can find their inner Cult Brand.


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INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (23s):

Oh yeah, we got paint boy on the show today. What's up everybody. This is Joel Cheesman of the Chad and Cheese podcast always joined by my Tonto, Chad Sowash.

Chad (37s):


Joel (37s):

Chad, how are you, man? We got a follow up to one of our weekly stories. I can't wait to get into this one now.

Chad (44s):

He's he's paint, dude. He's not paint boy, because he's in college. He's a senior.

Joel (49s):

He's a content creator.

Chad (51s):

Here's a little bit of an intro from Buzzfeed. Okay. So an Ohio University, senior who worked a part-time job at a local Sherwin-Williams store was fired after the company discovered he was mixing paint on a Tik Tok channel where it's At @tonesterpaints, which currently has 1.5 million followers. So that's, that's kind of like the backstory. We talked about that on the weekly show. Let's go ahead and bring it's Tony Piloseno. Tony, how you doing bud?

Joel (1m 25s):

Hello, Tony Piloseno.

Tony (1m 28s):

I'm in Ohio. Where are you guys?

Joel (1m 30s):

Are you in Ohio network?

Tony (1m 31s):

Yeah, I'm going to Athens, Ohio right now. I'm still at school for the next couple of weeks.

Joel (1m 36s):

Beautiful, beautiful school, big, big party school.

Tony (1m 40s):

Yes sir!

Joel (1m 42s):

It's home of Roger Ales, which is always nice to talk about.

Chad (1m 46s):

Known for its painting apparently. So, so Tony give us some, give us some, some backstory on this. I mean, we, we hear what's, you know, the Buzzfeed story, so on and so forth, you go in to work and then somebody gives you a call and you're like, what the fuck's going on here?

Joel (2m 2s):

Were you always a painter dude or was Sherwin-Williams like just, it was a job.

Tony (2m 7s):

Well, yeah, I mean, when I first started at Sherman Williams, about three years ago, I didn't know shit about paint. I and I fell in love with the job immediately, man. I mean, I love the industry. Loved helping people with their projects, picking out colors, the process. It was all good. My whole career path was going to lead down through Sherman Williams corporate chain doing all that. But last year, last December, I had downloaded TikTok and I saw that other people at paint stores were doing these paint videos, just the process of a mixing gallon paint. And it fell into like the oddly satisfying category.

Joel (2m 39s):

So was this like, Oh, I don't know. Lowes, paint. Yeah. TikTok account versus,

Tony (2m 45s):

Oh no, no. They were just some part-time workers too making the videos at the store.

Joel (2m 51s):

OK, so same thing.

Tony (2m 52s):


Joel (2m 53s):


Tony (2m 53s):

So, you know, the videos took off almost immediately. I think my sixth video got like a million views.

Chad (2m 59s):


Joel (2m 60s):


Tony (3m 2s):

So what I, what I tried doing was I wanted to basically change the digital marketing game for the paint industry and just make interesting content to younger people. And SW didn't really like that. And they canned me for it.

Chad (3m 15s):

Get a little deeper into this, this wasn't like your manager saying, Hey, you're screwing around on company time. This isn't good for us, blah, blah, blah. This was somebody from loss prevention. I mean some, some suit who had no fucking clue, probably what Tik Tok even is today. Well, he probably does today, but probably didn't even know what Tik Tok was. They were saying that you were a harming the brand.

Tony (3m 41s):

Well, yeah, dude. I mean, I had made a presentation to show to marketing I showed it to my manager and sales rep. Damn. Yeah. I mean, it was legit. I showed it to all my marketing professors here at OU and they said, move forward with this, get it to marketing. And I tried and basically got blown off for it. They didn't even look at the presentation. So I just kept making videos. And then apparently someone had called customer service up in Cleveland at their headquarters and said, was complaining that I was mixing...

Joel (4m 9s):

Was it the blueberry? Did the blueberry get you in trouble?

Tony (4m 12s):

It was the blueberry video.

Joel (4m 13s):

Wow. So talk about the blueberry video.

Tony (4m 16s):

Well, what I wanted to do is, I did a bunch of research on like the history of paint and they used, they used to use like natural, they call them natural pigments, as like dyes for the paint, like berries, roots. So I figured, it'd be cool for a video. So I bought, I was buying my own paint for those kinds of videos and thought it would be a cool concept to make a video for. And that video took off that one, got like 20 million views. That's how Sherwin-Williams found out about it.

Chad (4m 44s):

They weren't excited about this, that they were, that their brand was actually getting out and seen by 20 million different viewers.

Tony (4m 53s):


Joel (4m 53s):

Yeah. How was the brand represented? Were you always wearing a Sherwin-Williams shirt? Hat? Was the paint always there? Did you always mention like, Hey, the new paint from Sherwin Williams da da da?

Tony (5m 4s):

Before, I made that presentation, I was literally trying to promote Sherman Williams, like, Hey, come into the store and get these school colors. But then once the marketing thing didn't work out with trying to show off that presentation, I just took away the label completely. And then yeah, they, they still found out about it because I didn't want to be doing videos like that, that wasn't really approved of without what their brand and you know.

Joel (5m 28s):

Yeah. Yeah.