Greg: The Real Story
Updated: Apr 17
This is the story of Greg, someone who has proved himself to be an integral part of the JSD team. He makes us laugh until we cry and although he feels as familiar as family, there’s always something new to learn about him. He will always fill your heart with joy and greet you with an amazing story to tell. His journey is one of happiness and heartache, and I could not be more thrilled to share it with you today.
First, a little back story.
One shockingly warm February morning, Sofia asked everyone to send her photos for National #LoveYourPetDay. Everyone in the office started boasting about their pets, trying to select the best photo and share it with the team. Well, almost everyone…
Wilman – pet-less and not sure what to do – frantically rushed to Google, found a photo of a blacktip reef shark, and said a prayer. Not long after this magnificent array of mostly-real pets posted to our social, there were inquiries regarding this pet shark, lovingly named Greg. Weeks later for a #mancrushmonday post, Wilman photoshopped a sombrero and some teardrop tats on that same photo, and thus Shark Greg (or Papi Greg, as he likes to be called) was truly brought to life. Months later he took Instagram by storm with his very own account, showcasing the many shark things he and his shark friends like to do. You’re welcome.
It wasn’t easy deciding to create an account for a fake pet shark – we had to really discuss it for a good 5 to 10 minutes. What would he do? What could he do? What are his passions and hobbies? Why hadn’t we done this earlier? So, after much deliberation, I set it up and got to work. Quite frankly, it was one of my proudest moments. Little did I know just how much he would impact us all.
One may think that coming up with daily posts for months on end for a fake pet shark would be difficult – but I rose to the challenge. With the help of a super creative team, I managed to put things together to keep Greg busy for a while. He did all the normal shark things like replacing his lost debit card, getting tattoos with his friends, getting braces, falling in love, getting a job – and subsequently being furloughed due to a global pandemic – and is now looking to start his own business. See? Normal shark stuff. Easy peasy. Although daily posts were slowed to every-other-day posts after a while, he’s still as busy as ever. In fact, he’s growing bigger and better every minute - he's even getting fan art!
In addition to his amazing activities, Papi Greg has quite the loyal following. When I first started the account, I did the normal “beg your family and friends to follow”, but sadly not many did. I wiped the tears from my eyes, considered rethinking my family friends list and decided to do this the good ol’ fashioned way. You see, not only is Shark Greg a fun and much needed creative outlet, he’s a great way to randomly test engagement on social media. I didn’t have to worry about messing with a work account to test things like post times, follow/unfollow schedules, like trends and new or different hashtags because who cares?! It’s a fake pet shark. Test away, I say. (And take those skills and apply them to the other accounts you manage with confidence.)
One week I was feeling under the weather and forgot to post for 4 days… and Papi Greg got several messages asking if everything was okay – from people I didn’t even know. That’s when I knew that he truly had loyal followers that were invested in seeing what new, wonderful, quirky thing he’d do next.
His following has grown substantially in quarantine – thus proving some of my new engagement methods. Although I create all of the content, I look forward to seeing where this goes. Soon his website will launch (yes, I’m serious) so you could say things have gotten real. Be sure to follow him right now. Soon he will touch your lives as much as he’s touched ours, in the kind of way only a fake pet shark can.
Have I taken this too far? Maybe. But again, who cares?! It’s a fake pet shark. And we love him.