April 9th, 2009
The Merchant Maven has been a marketing director, creative director and PR director for most of his career. His specialties: shopping center marketing, credit cards, charge cards, technology marketing, fashion, retail and real estate.......Does that cover just about everything?
Red Valour Bench Seats
His career began with American Express in Retail Marketing and Sales back in the Jurassic Period known as the 1980's. Right out of college - his job was basically to travel throughout South Florida in a white Buick Regal Limited with red valour bench seats and a Blaupunkt stereo with Klipsch speakers. He was the liaison between American Express and retailers and touted charge card processing procedures, promotions and other wonderful services. With Amex he learned on the front lines what sales, customer service, brand building and the importance of "the first impression" is all about. He also learned a thing or two about guerilla marketing, merchandising, window displays and how hidden credit card transaction fees can add up at the end of the day.
On the side, he designed ads, studied Communication Arts awards books and played golf. During these early years he longed to work for some of the big New York ad agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett or Chiat Day.......
The closest he got was American Express - who at the time was the biggest client of Ogilvy & Mather. Remember the ads with Karl Malden "Dont' Leave Home Without it." That was a great charge card ad campaign.
His first glamorous assignment with Amex - was to make sure that point of purchase signage, including plastic signs and decals were placed in key positions throughout each Service Establishment. He placed "take one" brochures, which were basically applications for card membership throughout retailers and restaurants in South Florida.
He explained with unaffected confidence the reason why Amex charged 4.5% per transaction and Master Card/Visa only charged 2.5%. He gave merchants updated lists of credit card numbers that had been stolen and he supplied them with "ROCS" which stands for Record of Charge.
This was not exactly what a young, creative Advertising major had in mind...but hey, he was lucky to have a job and a brand new white Buick Regal Limited with red v
**More Personal and Utterly Irrelevant Information on the Merchant Mave
POLITICS ANYONE ?
The maven is a staunch Republican and a fervent Democrat. He is a Whip and a fan of the Bull Moose Party. He has mastered the art of being simultaneously conservative and liberal without being tedious about either. His favorite president was Theodore Roosevelt because he was never afraid of failure and one of the very first American Politicians to truly recognize the need for conservation. He was largely instrumental in founding the National Park system and setting aside millions of acres of pristine forest. Thank you, Mr. Roosevelt. Not unlike the Merchant Maven, Teddy also was the "trust buster" and fought for the rights of the American business.
On today's politics he stays informed by watching the McLaughlin Group. " I love the way they constantly interrupt each other."
Who Let the Dawgs Out?
The Maven is also a writer, a designer, a pseudo artist, and a devout animal lover. His home decor, purchased largely with a WAMU debit card, is inspired by night clubs, Ikea, Fred G. Sanford and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It is adorned with large interpretations of Picasso, Klee and Kandinsky which he painted because secretly wants to be the owner of an art gallery.
He has one German boxer dog named Augustine and another named Claudius Tiberius Nero Drusus Germanicus - which is so utterly and shamelessly pretentious that everyone refers to him simply as "Junior."
His favorite drama of all time is I Claudius, a British series highlighting the reigns of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. It stars Sir Derek Jacoby as Claudius and Brian Blessed as Augustus.
The maven's other roomate is a 15 year old cancer-surviving cat named Lucille Snodgrass.