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This is a Thursday afternoon call to all businesses and business owners. 

Recently, I came across a story that’s been going viral. The gist is, @tonesterpaints is a college student that had been working in Sherwin Williams. After amassing an impressive 1.4 Million TikTok followers with his paint-mixing content, Tonester wanted to create an entire TikTok campaign for Sherwin Williams, making similar content for the company that he had previously made on his own. In the end, Sherwin Williams rejected Tonester’s pitch and later fired him for gross misconduct.

Big companies, you’re losing the 2021 game. Blind robotic law isn’t going to cut it anymore. When I look at the Sherwin-Williams/Tonersterpaints situation I am baffled. I’m not going to go as far as to ask, what were you doing Sherwin-Williams, because I’m educated enough to know that big companies have lots of legal realities and tend to get concerned about things that may get in the way of common sense. They let go of Tonester, who soon after got a ton of job offers. Anyone could have predicted this kid would be a star…but, now, Florida Paints has him. Tonster now has a job with Florida Paints, making the same content for them that he made for himself. The same content that made him TikTok famous.

So, even if I hesitate, I have to say it–What are you doing, Sherwin-Williams? This is the biggest press Florida Paints has ever gotten. 

The world is changing and common sense needs to emerge. I have a ton of empathy for legal life. We deal with it 24/7, 365 at VaynerMedia. But big companies, come on.  You’re losing the 2021 game, and I mean that. We need to have common sense, even just a little bit. There’s so much opportunity out there. But we need to open our eyes and our minds and become more consumer-centric, not corporate-centric. 
Big companies need to be more thoughtful. There’s so much opportunity in the new world but we must deploy new rules. If we don’t, yesterday will get in the way of tomorrow. Good luck to @tonesterpaints on your new gig. For the business owners and c-suite executives reading this, let’s ponder new ways of working.