2010, 2011 PRSA WI Paragon Award of Excellence

About this blog

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin
Mannequin American views and guidelines on marketing/PR trends, news from the world of puppets and ventriloquism, bits of humor and other interesting but useless information. I post every Tuesday and Friday.
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January 2008 - Posts

Puppet Back From Surgery
Please Vote for Your Favorite Super Bowl Ad
On Monday I'll post a special blog poll that will allow you to vote for your favorite Super Bowl ad. All you'll have to do is click on the name of the ad. I had to buy my IT guy a six-pack to program the poll, so please make my investment pay off by taking the time to click on your choices.

I'll post the results on Friday. We'll randomly pull one name from our blog readers who vote and that person will receive a free copy of my DVD, "Close to a Thrill." So be sure to vote on Monday ... or Tuesday or whenever we get the poll up.

Please vote. I'd like to compare our results with the national results ... and the so-called experts.

So that you can print this out and check them off, here is a list of marketers who will be running ads during Sunday's game along with the number of ads each has scheduled. (By the way, there are 50 national network ads listed here and the list doesn't include local/regional ads. So be prepared to watch more ads than football on Sunday.)

Louie Returns from Surgery
Louie the Jockey, the newest member of our theatre and banquet ensemble, was recently released from the dummy hospital in Ostrander, Ohio.

Louie required some minor eye surgery and was also treated for occasional lock jaw. His first scheduled return performances will be at the Oak Creek Lions Club Annual Awards Dinner in Milwaukee, WI on February 14th and a week later at the Portage Chamber of Commerce Annual Scholarship Dinner, in Portage, WI. Although age is catching up with his ability to remain competitive on the track, Louie is still quite competitive on the dating scene. Interested ladies are asked to meet him backstage. Be patient. He needs a hand.

Weird New Pets?
I think this is a giant hoax. If it is, someone spent a lot of time and effort on it. You be the judge. Go see "the all New Genpets from Bio.Genica!" [Exclamation theirs.] They claim in their release, "Genpets are not toys or robots. They are living, breathing genetic animals." (Umm, eeeeewwwwww!) Sufficiently weirded out, I'm stopping right here. See for yourself if this is something you'd give to someone. Full details are at http://www.genpets.com/index.php

Puppets Nominated for Grammy

Plumber sitting pretty with a sense of humor
(And a rolling billboard)

I'm just a puppet, but do "plumbing" and "electrical" usually go together? 
Great signs for plumbers' trucks: "A flush beats a full house!" and "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."

Puppets Nominated for Grammy
Guess who's nominated for a Grammy? If you guessed "the Muppets," you're correct! (If you guessed "Amy Winehouse," you're also correct, but that's not who I'm writing about.) A Green and Red Christmas was nominated for Best Musical Album for Children. I'm pretty sure it's the only Grammy nominee that features a song sung by a prawn.

For Some, Super Bowl Represents Super Gamble
I love to watch the Super Bowl ... not for the football but for the commercials. I can't wait to see which companies wasted millions of dollars on advertising.

Last year, 93.2 million viewers tuned in to the Super Bowl and marketers paid as much as $2.6 million for 30-second spots. This year, Fox has gotten some marketers to pay as much as $3 million for 30-seconds. It's a big gamble. But it can pay big rewards. During the 1974 Super Bowl, Master Lock ran its famous "Tough Under Fire" commercial showing one of its locks surviving being shot.  For several years the company spent almost its entire annual marketing budget on that single commercial which ran only once a year ... during the Super Bowl.  But it created a brand identity and an iconic image that remains today, even though the commercial hasn't run for over 20 years. (I have one of those shot locks sitting on my desk. Thank you, Master Lock.)

One the other end of the spectrum, there are many examples of Super Bowl commercials that were ill advised, poorly thought out and almost a complete waste of money.  Ironically, according to "experts" two of the ten worst Super Bowl ads of all time, are two that I liked: Budweiser - Flatulent horse ad (2004): A romantic evening in a horse-drawn carriage is ruined by a farting horse, whose flatulence hits a candle and torches a woman's hair. (Come on, farts are funny!) And "Upside Down Clown" (2003): A clown with an upside-down suit walks into a bar, orders a Bud Light, and pours the drink into his mouth through an opening between the suit's legs. (Okay, it's a little gross, but it's funny ... on the other hand it's a clown.) For a complete list of the ten worst ads click here.

 To get the most from their Super Bowl investment, marketers try to get as much free pre-game press about their commercial as possible. Pre-game press is almost as important as the actual commercials. Bridgestone has already started to hype its two commercials, one of which will feature Alice Cooper, Richard Simmons and a deer? Can't wait to see that one ... which is the point of pre-game hype.

And following the Super Bowl marketers will make their ads available in as many places as they can including YouTube, My Space and other virtual outlets where visitors can vote for their favorite commercials. And a huge number of us will log in to watch and to vote.

And that's the point. Our expectations are higher for the competitiveness of Super Bowl commercials than they are for the competitiveness of the game. When marketers score a hit, sales can soar and history-making iconic images can be created. But when commercials suck, images can be tarnished, jobs can be lost and stock prices can fall.

I'm going to put a "Vote for your favorite Super Bowl Ad" poll on my blog the day after the Super Bowl. I'll have to wake up someone in our IT Department to see if they can help with that. Expect an early blog post from me on Monday or Tuesday so that you can give me your opinion.


Generating Store/Trade Show Traffic
Fear of Talking
Accoding to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means for the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.  The only fear around our office is that I'll start speaking without Dale being around.

Clever Idea to Generate Store/Trade Show Booth Traffic
Adidas decided to launch a new store in Pilestraede, Copenhagen during Fashion Week and came up with a great idea to entice customers to go to their store.
They placed several small blue Adidas ducks in the fountain at ‘Enhave Plads'. On the sides of the ducks was printed: "I've swum too far - help me get back home!", and on the bottoms it said: "Reward for my return at Adidas Original store". When customers brought the lost ducks back to the store they received free t-shirts and they got to keep the ducks. Not a bad idea. And similar ideas could be used at trade shows or other venues to attract attention and generate traffic.

Improving Email Newsletters and Email Marketing Efforts - Part 4
Content is king. If you want your messages read, give readers what they want ... versus what you want.  And present your information in an attractive, unique or entertaining manner.

Also, there's a lot of buzz surrounding "social networking" that includes the use of blogs and customer reviews.  These may not be right for everyone, but more and more marketers and public relations experts are experimenting with ways to increase interaction with recipients, and the overall user experiences on their web sites. B&M has experience with these new trends and can assist you in evaluating and implementing them.

Pictures Don't Tell the Whole Story
And finally, from our archives, I couldn't pass this up. Here's a Sheboygan Big Brothers poster featuring our own Dale Brown.  Dale was a Big Brother volunteer and he was on the board of directors of the Sheboygan County Big Brothers. But he was not a fisherman. The photographer had to show him how to hold the rod and reel mechanism.  Who goes fishing with plastic hair like that? I bet he's wearing bell bottoms. Gordy, Dale's little brother, is laughing at Dale's ineptness. Gordy is a government employee now, which gives you an idea of how inept Dale was as a mentor. "One Good Man Leads to Another!" I think I'm going to barf.


And the Winners Are ...

Jeff Dunham
A few of us from B&M recently spent some time with our long time friend, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. Jeff's Comedy Central Special was rated No. 1 last year and his current DVD, "Spark of Insanity" is the No. 1 selling Comedy DVD on the market. A recent YouTube post of Jeff's Achmed the Terrorist singing "Jingle Bombs" garnered 3/4 of a million hits in just 3 days.


Above, Lauren Brown (yes, Dale's daughter) waits for Jeff to pack away Jose Jalapeño on a Stick. The photo at right catches Jeff examining the head of Dale's newest puppet, Louie the Jockey.  Louie is currently in rehab at a "dummy hospital" in Ohio getting an eye repaired. No, really, he is. He claims it was injured in transit ... but I think Jose poked him in the eye with his stick.  For more photos go to the "Vents Only" portion of Dale's web site http://www.dale-brown.com/

No More Fun in Advertising
Australian marketers are no longer able to use celebrity spokespeople or characters to sell kids food.  Australia is implementing a new marketing code in response to a growing obesity problem among children.

Apparently the dastardly characters pictured here are to blame for the country-wide issue and the new code will restrict anything that could potentially urge a child to beg their parents for a particular product.

It's sad, I remember that mascots like these actually made me want to eat breakfast because of the games on the back of the boxes or the surprises in the boxes. I also remember when parents took accountability for what their kids ate instead of foisting the responsibility on cartoon characters. 

And the Winners Are ...
Five names were randomly selected from people who joined my blog or signed up for email alerts within the first two weeks of the blog's inception.  Our winners are: Andrea Kneeland, Chuck Loftin, Debbie Aschenbach, Dennis Kois and Jim Smith. Congratulations to our winners. You will be receiving copies of my DVD "Close to a Thrill," within the next few days. I know that describes just how you feel right now.

Improving Email Newsletters and Email Marketing Efforts  - Part 3
I've said it before and I'll say it again ... people read for two reasons ... they read to learn something or to be entertained. Think about that. Then look at your email publication. If you produce an employee newsletter that is overflowing with information that your team members don't really care about and it's presented in a dry and boring manner, chances are that few if any of your recipients are reading your messages. Your time, effort and money is being wasted.  I'll explain how to fix this problem in my next installment. 


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