Friday, November 26, 2021
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Robert Francis: Yes, Virginia, there is a press release with a sense of humor

🕐 8 min read

I see a lot of news releases during a day. Some have some relevant news I pass along to our readers in some form or fashion. With some, I just pass. Some bore me to death and that takes a lot. Others I just kind of stare at and wonder, “Why?” “Someone got paid for this?” or even “Why the hell?”

You’ll notice I didn’t say I get a good laugh out of these often-dry, usually humorless news releases full of corporate-gobbledygook, bureaucratic blather and lethargic legalese. If I do get a laugh, it’s because sometimes they are cringeworthy.

But I did get entertained on Monday. I checked a news feed for Fort Worth and there was one with a Fort Worth dateline that said: “Blend Supply – Santa’s Sleigh Paint Supplier.” Cheeky? You bet. All the better as far as I was concerned.

Color panel from Blend Supply: Guess which color Santa uses? courtesy photo

I was in and started reading. It was as good as I hoped.

Blend Supply is pleased to announce that we have partnered with Santa Claus as his exclusive sleigh paint supplier. Santa, also known as Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, delivers gifts once a year to well-behaved children around the world on the night of December 24th. With centuries of experience and a fleet of sleighs as cherry red as his nose, Santa continues to bring joy year after year.

Santa and his team are excited to have Blend Supply serve in this competitive role. “My last source of coatings simply became unreliable and did not understand the importance of the sleigh’s paint,” states Duseldorf, North Pole Vice President of Gift Distribution. “Blend Supply’s experienced and resourceful team provides the customer service and experience that we need. They developed a custom coating solution for Santa, which I am confident will keep him jolly for years to come.”

Blend Supply’s Executive Vice President, Clif Wiegand, stated, “Santa approached us earlier this year and explained some of the issues he was experiencing with his sleigh. Just like many of our partners, he sees a wide range of temperatures and some challenging conditions. He goes through snow, dirt and sand in some parts of the world. His sleigh is also pulled by a team of reindeer. Corrosion, abrasion and temperature resistance are big factors. Our team was able to develop a solution and we know the families visited by Santa this year will greatly benefit.”

Every news release worth its Mad Men-birthright includes some stock verbiage describing the parties involved. So did this one and it only added to the lighthearted tone of the piece:

About Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a world-renowned purveyor of gifts and joy. Every year on Christmas Eve he circumvents the globe in his sleigh and brings presents for children. His headquarters is based in the North Pole. His signature catch-phrase, often heard as he flies away into the night, is “ho ho ho.”

About Blend Supply
Blend Supply is a full-service distributor of coatings, tools and refinish supplies with deep industry expertise serving the aerospace, industrial, marine, and military markets. Our full-service team provides customer service and on-site technical assistance. Blend Supply offers next day delivery options for most of the country from our many distribution centers across the U.S. For more information, visit blendsupply.com and follow @blendsupply on Instagram.

I admit I had not heard of Blend Supply, located at 3262 Chapel Creek Blvd., so the news release did its job. And it spoke to me as early in my journalism career I worked for Metalworking News, a trade newspaper the focused on manufacturing, including stories about painting and coating technologies. I still have an interest.

I reached out to Samuel Cowlishaw, marketing and sales specialist at Blend Supply, and told him I had become an instant fan. I then asked for some background on how this industrial, business-to-business family-owned firm decided to have a little fun.

Here’s a little background on Blend Supply from Cowlishaw:

To give you some background about Blend Supply, we are the world’s largest Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings Distributor. We are also a Premier 3M Industrial supplier. We provide all of the products and supplies that shops need when painting aircraft or industrial equipment. We work with multiple industries including the military, general industrial, aerospace and marine. Our headquarters is here in Fort Worth where we were founded. We are a small business that is family owned and operated. Our roots go back to the 1940s. We also have locations in San Antonio, St. Louis, Harrisburg, Chattanooga, Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale.

Then I asked a question that would have made Mike Wallace from the glory days of 60 Minutes proud: I asked how Blend Supply made its deal with the bearded elf from the North Pole.

Cowlishaw again:

Like I said above, we’ve been pursuing Santa’s sleigh business for several years now. Our work with them actually started a few years back when we were able to lower their cost on sandpaper. That’s a huge part of the painting process: surface preparation. We recommended 3M’s premier industrial abrasive, Cubitron II. Eventually we were able to help the North Pole upgrade their polishing process. Last year their paint supplier dropped-the-ball and wasn’t able to meet their stocking needs or corrosion requirements. Essentially the sleigh was in danger of structural damage due to the wrong paint being applied. Duseldorf, the elf quoted in the press release, reached out to us about a new coatings concept. We were able to develop a custom solution at our headquarters here in Fort Worth. Our Color Specialist, Chris Cummings, worked with the North Pole team. Santa was excited to have Blend Supply so invested in his yearly trip’s success.

Obviously, Cowlishaw is a master of the straight face. I suggest you don’t play poker with him.

The next part probably should not be read by anyone under 7 years of age. I asked Cowlishaw how he came up with the story. He shared plenty.

Cowlishaw: I’ve been working at Blend Supply for three years and am responsible for Blend’s marketing. I came up with this story back in November. I’m always looking to create content that will engage with our prospects and customers. Many of the folks that we work with are shop managers, business owners or purchasing managers. They may work with coatings or do some kind of industrial refinishing process. I wanted to come up with something festive that would display to the world that we are experts at what we do. Eventually I was thinking about content that would surround Santa and the Christmas holiday. I’m always thinking of article titles for the newsletter that I publish for our customer base every week or so. We put these articles on social media platforms like LinkedIn. I was thinking of titles like “Why Santa buys supplies from us” or “Why we use Santa’s distribution model.”

Then I started thinking about the sleigh. What kind of paint does Santa put on his sleigh? This fall I’ve been writing and creating content surrounding different paint resins. For example, How Do Epoxies Prevent Corrosion? And Understanding Epoxy Adhesion. I suppose whatever type of paint we would recommend for Santa’s sleigh, it would need to be temperature resistant. He’s somehow in the North Pole and the Caribbean on the same day. It would also need to be corrosion/chemical resistant (it is pulled by reindeer after all, who knows that they eat?). It would also go though a lot of different types of conditions. He’s landing on rooftops, apartment buildings, sand dunes, etc. Whatever we would recommend, I’m confident that the folks here at Blend would be able to come up with something good. We frequently field calls for people looking to paint anything from a tractor to a personal aircraft.

Eventually I Googled the title that I came up with. Santa’s Sleigh Paint Supplier. This isn’t anything that any of our competitors (or anyone else for that matter) have come up with, so I pulled the trigger. The days leading up to it I was so hesitant to tell anyone about the idea because I was so excited and worried about it being stolen. I wrote it out in one sitting and read it to one of our marketing associates, Avery Custer. She thought it was pretty clever as well, so I decided to publish it. I’m always trying to create content like this that isn’t trying to sell you too hard. I want to promote the business and the products/services that we provide, but I also want to just leave a good impression on the reader. I want to lodge in their mind that we’re experts here at Blend and we know what we’re talking about. When you’re ready to make a buying decision, I want you to trust us enough that you’ll bring us your business. I want you to trust that we’ll provide you with what you actually need to be successful at your shop.

There you go. I’m a sucker for something clever and creative. For Christmas 2020, I got a press release with a real sense of humor. Miracle on 34th Street? Not quite, but what do you want for 2020?

So when your kids talk all bright-eyed and rapturous about Santa Claus this Christmas, just remind the young ones that Santa’s not just about toys, climbing down chimneys and asking Rudolph for a favor. Santa’s also about logistics, proper accounting for right and wrong and keeping his sleigh up for its annual Christmas Eve outing. Yes, Virginia, you can tell them, Santa’s sleigh needs a good reliable, anti-corrosive and temperature-resistant coat of paint and his preferred supplier is right here in Fort Worth. Yes, Virginia, there is a paint supplier for Santa’s sleigh.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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