by Sharon Stevens
“Tiffany’s blue box is a slogan without words.”
Words of Wisdom by Seth Godin
from Advertising Creative, Strategy, Copy, Design
by Tom Altstiel & Jean Grow
My husband and I were eating out at Jason’s Deli recently and I watched as a young mother tried to corral two little girls at their table. Juggling with keeping them seated in their chairs and retrieving upended juice boxes was a wistful and precious sight especially since our days of parenting were long past. Not wanting to intrude on their frustration I returned to my salad and conversation with my husband until I heard the woman quietly tell her daughter to sit down and eat her supper. (How many times have I said those same words?) But when she called the little child by name my heart absolutely melted as it was warmed with memories of long ago.
Molly. Such a simple symbol, and an old one at that. I didn’t think anyone named their children with such an unassuming, gender specific heirloom in this day and age. It only took a moment for me to be flooded with incredible tenderness at the mere mention of this old-fashioned name.
Instantly I remembered a little red, Radio Flyer wagon, a neighbor, lilacs, cottonwoods and a kindness without detail. Every sweet memory I have of childhood is related to Molly and then glory, rejoicing, sunshine, and the artistry of colors, so many colors, every color of the rainbow. I see it. I feel it. I smell it. I hear it. I even taste it. That’s what the sound of her name and her link to the little red wagon means to me.
I could never relate to a Tiffany box. My family doesn’t run in these circles. Hardly any of my friends connect to it either. On second thought, none of my friends, family or acquaintances would recognize such an item. As far as I know this kind of box can only be seen on Antique Roadshow on PBS where they are always reminding the public that the item is WAY more valuable if it comes in the original package. And we don’t put much stock into this either, not because any of us are poor. We just don’t want to spend any extra money on a luxury that gives nothing in return.
The artist Jack Sorenson explains that it is so important to him to paint a picture that instantly tells a story to everyone who sees it. In his artwork you feel warmth, and love, sometimes a little high-jinks, but all in good fun, never ugly, no despair, just some good old-fashioned, down home thoughts.
As writers we must try to convey the theme and mood of our piece to our target audience. If you are writing about wealth and riches, by all means write about the Tiffany box, but then again pay close attention to the heart of your story. Even a sweet remembrance like O. Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” can be revived with a new twist to an age old tale. It’s the name of Tiffany that tells you someone is more than just a spendthrift with nose-up-in-the-air haughty, with lavish lifestyles, designer gowns of incredible red carpet sparkle, jewels with heavy bling from head to toe, and mega million dollar mansions. The blue box is the status symbol, but you have to have what goes inside before you can truly relate. They don’t just sell the box.
But give me the image of a little red, Radio Flyer wagon any day of the week. And send me those who fit into that vintage category and who enjoy simplicity and childhood memories as well.
These are my kind of people…the ones who will name their child Molly. After all, a rose by any other name…