It’s not something you see everyday: A grown man who has led a successful company for more than 20 years, dancing in a shark costume. If you know Warren Wilansky, though, it likely doesn’t come as that much of a shock.
The origin of what is now a Plank mascot of sorts, came from one of Warren’s deep loves: Baseball. When Gerrado Parra of the Washington Nationals chose the children’s song Baby Shark as his walk-up-to-bat song, Parra’s success inspired his team as well as their legions of fans. The unlikely song choice, made by Parra’s young daughter, became a rallying cry. An indispensable presence that led the team all the way to a win at the World Series in 2019. Warren attended games 4 & 5 of that World Series, by the way.
So, that’s why Warren bought the shark costume. Technically, it’s Left Shark. The 7-foot shark that made headlines dancing rather awkwardly on the left side of Katy Perry during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2015. Warren is a baseball fan, not a football fan, so Left Shark was a bit of surprise to him. But Warren was happy because it got him the costume.
Now if you’re a parent, you’ve likely heard the Baby Shark song on repeat for hours (days?) at a time. Perhaps you even swore to slug the next person who inadvertently put the song in your head. Here’s the thing about Warren: He loves anything playful or silly — so that song, and his new costume, were used for just that.
Baby Shark, when worn by Warren Wilansky, became endearing. Because he made it that way.
Baby Shark is played regularly at Plank, much to groans from some and laughs from others. The costume is used for gags, photo shoots, pranks, gimmicks, guest appearances, stickers and social media posts. Over time, Warren’s shark has evolved to become somewhat of a company mascot. He pops out when someone needs a laugh or when costumed representation seems like the best and, silliest, option.
Many thanks to the very talented Keith Race, who has been photographing the Plank Team since 2015.