Johnny Gennaro and Vinny Pastore, an actor who is often portrayed as an Italian mafia member, bring the Broccoli Wad to the Shark Tank in episode 204. Gennaro came up with the idea after watching a documentary on one of the original “wise guys.” Rather than carry a wallet, the mafia members would often use a rubber band from a broccoli bunch like a money clip. Gennaro took the idea one step further, creating a silicone band that is both stronger and more flexible than the broccoli bands. He kept the nickname “Broccoli Wad,” and partnered with Vinny Pastore to bring his idea to the Sharks.
Broccoli Wad Shark Tank Recap
Gennaro and Pastore bring the Sharks an offer they “hopefully can't refuse,” requesting $50,000 in return for 20% of the company. Pastore demonstrates the Broccoli Wad, giving each of the Sharks a sample.
Barbara Corcoran thinks they're “both totally nuts,” and she doesn't get it. She's out. Jeff Foxworthy, on the other hand, likes the idea.
Each set comes with four of the bands and four metal slides, and will retail for between $10-14. Pastore has starred in two commercial slots, and has contacts in Las Vegas, where the Broccoli Wad will be handed out to casino goers. Gennaro sees the product as a novelty item, an “as seen on TV” product sold through retail, online, and infomercials.
Gennaro needs the $50,000 investment to buy the television time, but he tells the Sharks that what he's really after is their marketing expertise. Barbara Corcoran wants to know why they haven't branded this with Pastore's recognizable face. She says she's back in “for the Vinny Wad.” She'd like to see the pair use Pastore's name and image to market the product.
Kevin O'Leary thinks that buying Vinny's name for the brand “sounds very expensive.” He's out. Jeff Foxworthy and Daymond John quickly follow.
Barbara Corcoran makes an offer. She's willing to give them the $50,000, in return for 40% of the company. If Vinny will agree to be the face of the company, and rename the Broccoli Wad the “Vinny Wad,” she'll give him half of her percentage.
Robert Herjavec says “that's a great deal.” He's out. Pastore accepts immediately, even though he's not the decision maker. Gennaro looks a bit shell shocked, and uncertain, but he accepts the deal.
Broccoli Wad Shark Tank Update
Although the deal with Barbara was successful, the Broccoli Wad/Vinny Wad site is no longer in service. Social media has gone silent as well. The product is still available through Amazon and other online re-sellers, but its presence as a company seems to have vanished from the ‘web. It may be safest not to speculate upon the demise of the Broccoli Wad. Doing business with wise guys may be even more dangerous than swimming with Sharks.