The Story of the Jimmy Max Octopus Logo
Shortly after the opening of Jimmy Max in February of 1989, I was discussing the successes and shortfalls of the first few months with a couple of friends. The conversation turned to advertising and I proclaimed that I wouldn’t be needing any advertising, my product would speak for itself, I was 27 years old and a bit naïve. Another friend mentioned that I would at least need a logo, even if there was no money in the budget for ads. I never once considered it and thought that good pizza and great service were all I needed to succeed. The idea was shelved for a while and I didn’t think about it again until one night a good friend of mine and member of the Jimmy Max softball team, Guy Olivieri came in with a business warming present for me. It was a beautiful cartoon of Pebbles Flintstone and Bam Bam Rubble building a block tower. I thanked him and told him how unnecessary and expensive it must have been, he asked me to take a closer look at the painting. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the block tower spelled out a vertical “Jimmy Max.” It really was something and it became the centerpiece of my dining room. He also informed me that the picture was only part one of the gift, he also intended to do my logo, for free! “Jim, tell me about the restaurant, besides pizza, what do you think some of your specialties will be going forward?” he asked. When I told him that my calamari was going to be the best on the island, and that I planned on serving Italian seafood along with pizza, he seemed to leave the bar that night with an idea of what he was going to draw. Fast forward about three months and in walks Guy with the Jimmy Max Octopus (Max) along with some shrimp, flounder, and clams on the ocean floor. He apologized for the octopus and explained that he had discarded countless attempts because he just couldn’t draw a cute looking squid! He did like the idea of the octopus because it allowed us to put up to eight items in his arms depending on our promotion. For example, during football season he might have a beer in one arm, a slice of pizza in another and a football in a third.
Guy and I haven’t seen each other in a while, he just finished a 25 year career with the Woodbridge police department as a crime scene detective, which included sketching possible perps. He was recently signed by the Liza Royce Literary Agency and is working on his first pictorial novel entitled “Forensic Frankie,” aimed at middle schoolers. He has a website where you can view some of his work, PrivateerArt.com .
During a recent visit, I was able to spend some time with Guy and his family. One of his guests asked for some uneaten pizza to be wrapped. The server came back with a small pizza box and there was “Max” the octopus in all his 1989 glory. Guy looked nostalgically at the drawing and proclaimed, we have to get that guy an update and welcome that logo into the new millenium. As long as it includes the octopus, I said, that guy has become part of my identity!