Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Where does it come from?


Vincent Tesoriero, doing what he does best and wearing a great vintage Russ Howell World Championships Skateboarding tee. Circa 1976

Where does it come from?

Many of your are familiar with the back story of Papa Nui and how my father and his WWII service played into the creation myth of the brand. This is only half the story however. Introduce then my eldest brother Vincent.

Vincent inherited my fathers passion and in his late teens was already making an impact on his chosen field in advertising and marketing. His mid twenties and early thirties coincided with the 1970’s, a time when youth culture was coming into its own. With his company Forcefield Promotions and clients that included RayBan, Pepsi Cola, Golden Breed and Levi Strauss, he began to envision events that grew to be institutions in alternative sports. The Castrol 6 hour race, the Superbike series, Mr Motocross, the Pro Junior Surfing Series and the new crazy of skateboarding were all fruits of his imagination. One only needs to understand each of these events to realize which stars in those sports began their careers as contestants. He was also the instrument behind Golden Breed, which arguably was Australias first authentic youth brand and later the mastermind behind Rat Racing, the 80’s phenomena in motorcycle racing.

To contextualise there was nothing else before it and afterwards some of the largest brands just lifted his entire schtick to create empires. He was the first of the great collaborators, seeking out a talent pool and bringing them together on projects aimed specifically at his target audience. He married art and youth culture, enlisted such luminaries as Peter Ledger to create posters that today are collectors pieces and inspired the trend of graphic t-shirts as a vehicle for more than marketing messaging. Think of the giants in the industry today and at their core somewhere and perhaps unwittingly they’ve tapped into what Vincent started.

As a humble individual, even today, Vincent does not talk up his achievements, rather he channels his energy into the many other interests and hobbies that he has, and so it’s my gig then to spruik his influence.

As a very young teenager, perhaps 13 years old I sat transfixed at the end of the table when Vincent came to Monday night dinners. He had already moved out of home and I was seeing my brother for the first time through the eyes of my emerging consciousness. Every word resonated in  my mind and I subconsciously absorbed the minutiae of stories set in the glory days of Advertising agencies. Fundamentally though this was like sitting through a 101 class in how to do things and although I’ve grown to take my own path and perhaps disappointment my eldest brother at times with poor behaviour and choices, I still retain those things that he talked about deep down and although our successes can’t be measured against each other I like to think that what makes my outlook so different in the current marketplace of doing things and creating product is in a large part down to the influence of my eldest brother who was my mentor long before I was old enough to realise.