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Why the squirrel?

Throughout the process of creating my brand, the one question I get asked the most (other than "What do you do?"), is "What's with the squirrel?". There is a story behind him and people seem to enjoy it, so I decided to share the story with everyone. Keep in mind that what you are about to read is indeed true and not embellished. It really doesn't have to be.

When I was 19, I attended the University of Minnesota and lived with my older brother and his friends in Dinkytown. I also worked at the university as a custodian. On this particular night, my brother and his friends were going to have a little party and invite some people over. Hungry to be part of the "in" crowd, I really wanted to be there. Unfortunately, I had to work. I started at 5 and went until I finished cleaning all the rooms on 1st, 2nd and basement floors of Elliott Hall. I was not happy about this, but I reluctantly rode my bike to campus and locked it to the rack outside where my supplies were. I had to pick up my cleaning supplies in a separate building and roll the cart to Elliott Hall.

I was in a hurry and slightly grumpy about not being able to be at the party that I was sure was the best party ever. With cleaning cart fully loaded and broom in hand, I began the walk to Elliott Hall. I passed my bike and got about 40 feet down the sidewalk when I saw him. He stood there looking at me like he was expecting to collect a toll; a big fatty grey squirrel. "I'm in no mood squirrel." I said as I didn't even break stride, but he did not budge. Finally, I realized that he was NOT going to move. Well, I was not about to take a bunch of crap from a squirrel. Not tonight. So in true Spartan form, I jabbed at him with my broom with no intention of hitting him, but definitely to scare him. He stood his ground proudly and slowly meandered onto the grass and around me. As he got back on the concrete, he stood up and stared at me.... much like the logo. I remember thinking how weird it was at the time, but if you've ever spent time on the U of M campus you know that the squirrels are quite bold to say the least.

An odd experience, but I continued with my trek and my awaiting duties. I paid the squirrel no more thoughts while I completed my custodial tasks with a definite sense of urgency knowing that there was another, much cooler, place to be at that time. I finished up the duties around 9 o'clock, gathered all the tools for my cart and started to head back to the supply depot. On the walk back, my first thought was always to check on my bike to make sure it was there. I could see immediately that it was, but I could tell something was slightly off. I squinted my eyes in the fading dusk to try to figure out what, and as I got closer it was quite obvious. My seat had been completely chewed to bits. There it sat atop a metal pole, foam littered under the pedals and wheels with shreds of breathable nylon cloth dangling from it. Now, I grew up in the country and have had dogs and cats all my life. I have seen all sorts of things chewed up by all sorts of animals, and this was no dog. This was no cat. It looked like it had been chewed by a giant mouse... much like a SQUIRREL. After a moment of astonishment, some choice words and the inevitable looking around to see if he was somewhere in a tree laughing with his little crony squirrel buddies, I returned my cart and took what was left of my bicycle home with a story to tell everyone at the party. True story.

You may say to yourself, "What does that have to do with advertising, design or anything?". Well I see it like this. All through life you have people telling you what you have to do, trying to force you one direction and bend you to whatever they believe to be best for you, much like I did to that squirrel. But that squirrel knew better. He wanted to be on that sidewalk and he wasn't going to let anyone tell him that he should be somewhere else. Yes, he may have been a little psychotic in his retribution, but his message is clear to me to this day. "Walk your own path, because you are the only one who knows what's right for you." And so that spirit lives here at Stun: creativ. We do what we do here because we love it and it's our path.

CLIENTS

Alumacraft Boats, Larson Boat Group (Larson/Striper/Triumph Boats), Premier Family of Pontoons (Premier/Weeres/Palm Beach Pontoons), E-Z Dock, MarineTech, VonHansen Meat Markets, JRobinson Wrestling Camps, MPLS FLY, Hub-O-Matic, Chris McArthur Photography, Lindell & Lavoie LLP., Menopause Center of Minnesota, Leo Lewis Sports Academy, City of St. Paul