UNEARTHED: Gemstone copywriting from Tiffany

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Working for Tiffany’s advertising account out of New York is a dream come true. Looking back at Tiffany’s vintage ad campaigns as a reference point, I came across this magazine advertisement from the mid-1950’s. The creatives who executed this assignment establish the perfect tone by employing a classic sculpted sans serif font with generous leading, centered to echo the perfection of the settings of each diamond in the sumptuous necklace. The stroke of genius for me is the way the copywriter chose to write out the price using words rather than numbers. “Ninety six thousand and eight hundred dollars including federal tax” is poetic and elegant, compared to “$96,800”, which is simply plain old crass. #goodcopyisforever


TOP SECRET: International project

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Shhhh! Don’t tell. Gangbusters project set to launch September, 2019. Trans-Pacific, multinational, bi-continental. You get the picture. More soon.

Photo: Rocky Ranallo and I talk strategy and ideas.

Logo review: Super-Bellissimo

Italians have a special touch when it comes to logo design. For them, the concept of ‘bella figura’ drives the passion for aesthetics. Makes sense – if people like what they see, they’re more likely to buy it. This Maserati logo radiates class, clearly reflecting the price tag of the deluxe automobile range. Designed in 1926 by one of the Maserati brothers, Mario, the trident is the emblem of Bologna, the hometown of the Maserati family. If you’re ever in Bologna, visit the Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Maggiore where you’ll  find a bronze version of the trident, created by Tomaso Laureti and Giambologna in 1565. Elegance is eternal. So is clever branding.Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 07.56.53

The college of second chances

For every young person who is accepted by a top tier college, there are many more who are rejected. This campaign, promoting  a college for high school graduates seeking a second chance, answers a real need. There are few subjects more important to a young person than their future. Unsurprisingly, inquiries are through the roof.Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 20.57.32.png

Fly me to the moon

Fifty years ago this July 20, a human stepped on the moon for the first time. A dream transformed into action, a partnership of imagination and science.  Collaborations based on ideas and skill, when new ground is broken, may be risky but also worthwhile. Why do we take risks? Because it’s the nature of who we are – curious hunter-gatherer earthlings.

As astronaut Edgar Mitchell said about his time in space,  “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.”

This visualization uses a digital 3D model of the Moon built from global elevation maps and image mosaics by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.

Images courtesy of NASA. Music, Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy. Interpretation of Clair de Lune by the National Symphony Orchestra Pops, led by conductor Emil de Cou, performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

In Central Australia, the air sings

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It’s important to listen. Does your message resonate? Meaningful communication is our goal at SuperMarketLove.

Check out the inspirational art on this listening station, a satellite dish located outside Alice Springs in Central Australia. Painted by Roseanne Kemarre Ellis from the Arrente tribe, it’s located on a multi-million-dollar earth ground station and is set to be the first development of its kind on Aboriginal-owned land in Australia. Catch the vibe.


(Photo credit: Geoscience Australia)



Staying sharp: Grassroots shoots in Rauschenberg’s hometown

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Notable fact: Beaumont-Port Arthur in South East Texas has great art bones. It’s the birthplace of postmodern genius, Robert Rauschenberg. As it turns out, this unique nexus of rust and innovation also offers fertile turf for a documentary shoot. 

Screen Shot 2019-06-03 at 23.19.35.pngThis past weekend I helped out a small crew shoot a series of interviews focused on the pulsating art scene in the resurrected post-industrial ozone of Beaumont I love nothing more than being on set, whether it’s a big budget job or a guerilla run-and-gun affair. My absolute favorite type of shoot is live interview documentary shooting. It keeps you sharp because you never know exactly what is going to happen. You have to be ready for anything. As producer, my job is to find the talent as they walk in – artists, filmmakers, photographers, writers – convince them to be interviewed, learn their story in a pre-interview Q and A, then feed salient angles to the director, so he can ask insightful questions and capture the action on camera.  Details: This project was a collaboration with Dizzy Worldwide Corp. at The Art Studio Inc, Beaumont, known as the red hot crucible for the rebirth of the arts in South East Texas. 


Romper Room and a brand of chocolate named after……me

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a kid called Mara (i.e. me) who would religiously watch a TV show called Romper Room every day. At the end of every episode the host, a teacher called Miss Patricia, would hold up a ‘magic mirror’ in front of her face, reciting the incantation, “Romper, bomper, stomper boo, tell me, tell me, tell me do. Magic mirror, tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play?”  Then she would proceed to call out names gleefully. “I can see Susan and Michael and David and Patrick and Ian and Sarah and Peter. I can see  Jennifer and Pamela and Jane and I can see Craig and Paul and Mandy and Derek. And I can see you too, and I’ll see you tomorrow in Romper Room.” She never, ever said my name. I would whine to my mother who would patiently answer that when Miss Patricia said “And I can see you too” that meant she was talking to me specifically. Indeed, I bought that line for a couple of years until I grew out of Romper Room. I thought I got over it, but as it turns out, the absence of the acknowledgement of my name stuck with me. Though I grew into my name and identity over the years, and there have been many times my memorable moniker helped me in the competitive world of business, simply because people had an easy time remembering someone whose first name was quite similar to their last name, there were also a number of times that my slightly unusual (unless you’re in Croatia) name made me feel like an outcast, a “Don’t Bee” in a “Do Bee” world.

Fast forward to today. Shopping at Whole Foods, I discovered a range of chocolates from California made from fair trade cacao and other premium ingredients. Turns out they’re delicious and totally addictive. And they’re named Marich Chocolates, just like my slightly unusual Croatian last name. The fact that a brand of premium chocolate  shares my name is to the 4 year old version of me, the ultimate victory. Got you, Miss Patricia! Take that Romper, bomper, stomper, boo! “I eat Marich premium chocolate, therefore I am.” 

Lesson: Names are very, very important. They’re encapsulate your identity – who you are and where you’re from. Whether you’re naming your child, your business or a new brand, it’s critical to think carefully about it, because you’re going to be living with that name and its aura for a long time. Essentially, you’re building a unique story based on a name. You can read more about the story of my company name here.

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Unsung heroes: Marta Kranz, NASA branding genius

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Gene Kranz, observing NASA engineers at Mission Control, Houston, wearing his                     most famous vest, designed and tailored by Marta Kranz.

If you can remember the year 1969 or have seen the film Apollo 13, you may be familiar with NASA’s flight director, Gene Kranz, who led the ground team at Mission Control Houston, most famously during the Apollo space missions. It was Gene who bore the ultimate responsibility for safely landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface. It was Gene who headed up the mammoth operation which brought the Apollo 13 astronauts back home to Earth, averting almost disaster. Gene was a space age nerdy hero who endeared himself to an audience of millions worldwide, thanks to the power of the TV broadcasts which aired each space mission. As a constant steady visible presence, Gene was known for his cool demeanor under pressure, as well as his collection of vests, hand tailored by his wife, Marta.   

When quizzed about her handiwork, Marta shared that “Gene wanted some kind of symbol for his team to rally around. I suggested a vest.”  A branding device to admire, it represented an instant visual representation of a buttoned up, smooth, professional outfit. Gene started wearing Marta’s vests during Gemini 4, and they were an immediate hit. From then on, for every mission Gene supervised, Marta made Gene a new vest.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 16.42.55.pngFive button cream faille vest, hand tailored by Marta Kranz for the Apollo 11 mission, on display at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 16.53.00.pngMarta and Gene Kranz today

On July 19 this year, the eve of the 50th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon, Gene will be guest of honor at an historic dinner at NASA, Houston. As a kid who grew up watching the first lunar landing in awe so many moons ago, I’ve made it my mission to attend, to pay homage to that incredible feat, and to listen to the wisdom of the now 85 year old NASA icon. Like many, I’ll be eagerly waiting to see which of Marta’s vests Gene will wear on this momentous occasion. Stand by for my report on July 19.

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Thanks to the Smithsonian for the back story