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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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August 2008 - Posts

Make Your Own Animated Cartoon

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Puppet
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. For information on this puppet's background, go to

On Their Way Home

Dale and Leslie have turned about (that's nautical talk) and are heading back to port at Captiva Island. They should be home this weekend ... maybe.  The B&M employees who stayed behind have a pool on how many days Dale and Leslie were out to sea before Leslie tossed Dale overboard.  

No Blog on Sept. 2nd
Just a heads up that I won't be posting a blog on Tuesday, Sept. 2nd. (I didn't want you to worry that I'd gotten locked in my suitcase or something.) I know that most of my readers will be busy catching up on work after the 3 day weekend and I don't want to be among the scores of RSS feeds and emails that you have to wade through. I'll be back in touch on Friday, Sept. 5th

Edgy Energizer Print Ads Win Awards
Under the tagline "Never let their toys die," Energizer UK depicts kids in various states of, uh, toyless engagement. The campaign won top accolades in Press Advertising at the Cannes International Ad Festival. They're a tad edgy, but attention getting none-the-less.

Here are two of the first four ads in the "Never let their toys die" series. To see the other two ads, click here.

Is Office Casual Reverting to Office Formal?

Now that corporate casual is abundant on all sides of business, it's time for contrarian types to switch-up fashion. And how do you rebel against casual? You go Mad, of course. Some office workers in New York, most notably those who work in ad agencies, are already wearing skinny ties and fedoras as a result of watching the new hit TV series Mad Men. That just goes to prove that no one is more susceptible to advertising than ad people. I wonder if their HR people will approve those fancy cut glass decanters?


Our friend Jeff Perkins recently got behind the wheel of an Indy Car at the Indianapolis Speedway. Here's a photo of him just before he took the track. Lucky guy. And he kept the shiny side up!

Make Your Own Cartoon! It's Easy

Our magician/ventriloquist friend Glen Chelius tipped me off to this very creative and fun Web site,
http://www.goanimate.com/. If you're at all creative, this is a great place to waste a few hours. Just click on "Watch Our Demo" and you'll be hooked. It's so easy, even a dummy puppet can do it.

It's a free site, but you have to "join" to create an animation. Don't worry, they keep your information private. You can watch the animations of others without having to join ... and some of them are really entertaining. If you make an animation, be sure to send me a link to it. I want to see how creative my readers are.

Only in America

Atlanta officials have agreed to scrap road signs warning of "Men at Work" or "Men Working Ahead," after complaints that the signs are sexist. All signs will be replaced or altered to read "Workers Ahead." I've driven past construction areas and I'd say the word "Workers" is still misleading. I think the signs should read, "People Standing Around Ahead."


Ventriloquists and Beavers

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Puppet
Mannequin American views and guidelines on marketing/PR trends plus bits of humor and interesting but useless information. For information on Chip's background, go to

What's a Jib Sheet?

Dale and Leslie continue to learn the ropes, or I should say, the "lines" of sailing while on a 48 ft. yacht in the Gulf of Mexico. That's not them in the photo, though. No one has seen or heard from them in 3 days so we had to use models for the photo. I don't know where Dale and Leslie are ... but I'm sure they're alright. I mean what could happen ... storms, pirates, fire, falling overboard, tipping over, running out of wind ... I don't know, I'm not a sailor and I'm not a water log. But I'm sure they're okay ... unless they actually ate the food that I packed for them.

Meet a Canadian Vent
Below is a photo of Canadian ventriloquist Neale Bacon and his Beaver puppet (I neglected to ask the Beaver his name) with Dale and Louie. I don't know who created Neale's puppet, but it's really a great character. Neale is a family entertainer with a lot of great puppets including a really funny Pig.
Here's his web site.

Speaking of "Canadians" and "Beavers" ... one of my all-time favorite TV commercials features both "Canadians" and "Beavers." It's for Molson beer and it demonstrates that Canadians have better senses of humor than Americans. Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y09YOkVmGg0 to see it. This commercial would never be allowed to air in the States. But I laugh out loud every time I see it. I wonder if it was the inspiration for Neale's puppet? I doubt it.

Neale took the top photo of David Turner during the Saturday Night Show at this year's Vent ConVENTion. David designed and built his figure, Harley. It's a great puppet and Dave's routine with Harley is very entertaining. Click here to go to David's Web site.

By the way, Dale's popular book "Making It Up As You Go ... Ad libbing and Audience Participation" is back in stock. It's based on the lecture he gave at the Vent ConVENTion two years ago and contains great how-to advice along with lists of stock "ad libs" that vents can have in their back pockets to use when the right moments arise. Go to http://www.dale-brown.com/ to order the book.

Interesting Art
Barnaby Barford creates art pieces using primarily found objects and turns them into sardonic and humorous sculptures.  Here are a couple of pieces from his collection called "Private Lives." The fact that I like them probably shows that my sense of humor is a little "off."

Above: Mary Had A Little Lamb

Above: Dear lord, for what we are about to receive make us truly thankful.

Come on, that's funny! (Don't tell Dale that I posted this.)

Using Marketing to Promote Value
Marketing is nothing more or less than an exchange of value. It's just common sense that if you give a little, you'll usually get a little in return. But to quote President Harry S. Truman, "If common sense were so common, more people would have it."

Let's just say that the idea is to use marketing to offer prospects something they'll want as opposed to hitting them over the head with messages that they'd rather ignore. If the value offered by the marketer is different and exceptional, then the customer will pay back the marketer with loyalty and brand evangelism in good times and bad.
Take the T-shirt company Threadless. It has built a reportedly multimillion-dollar business in eight years by encouraging its customers to submit original designs and vote on the shirts the company will print. The "value" is customer engagement and originality. An old product with a new slant. Brilliant.

Adult Tree Video

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Puppet
Mannequin American views and guidelines on marketing/PR trends plus bits of humor and interesting but useless information. For information on Chip's background, go to

I'm Still Here - But Dale's No Where in Sight

Dale and Leslie are sill aboard this sailing yacht in the Gulf of Mexico getting sea sick, fighting over the helm, getting sea sick, learning how to sail and getting sea sick. At least that's the way I picture it. So I collected the following tidbits before they casted off.

Classy Underwear Commercial

(I got this photo autographed!)

Who knew there was such a thing ... a non-sexual, artistic women's underwear commercial? No bulging cleavage. No alluring grins. No enticing smirks. No gratuitous camera angles. No bootie-bearing thongs. Just women dancing and lucky Fruit of the Loom guys amongst a stage full of women. It's tasteful and it works.

On the other hand, Kmart says it's more fun in your undies. That is if it were made up of perfectly toned, 20-something hotties. Compare the two commercials and see which one you think is more effective.

Tree Porn

To save the earth or something Green Piece produced an ad titled "Come together for Forests." It's tree porn, short and simple. Click here to see the video. Then please explain to me why someone had to make this commercial. But trust me, it's one of those things that you'll want to forward to all of your friends.

Create a Meaningful Service

Way back in 1900, André Michelin created a driver's guidebook to France to help drivers find the best restaurants of the country while keeping their cars in good shape. It included addresses of places such as gas stations, garages, tire repair shops, and public toilets. Set up 108 years before Cities by Foot... a guide created by Crocs to give pedestrian explorers online walking guides ... the Michelin Guide remains a quintessential example of "marketing as a service." It educates customers while enhancing their lives and it does so in a highly relevant manner ... with no hard sell.

It's difficult to create a meaningful service for your customers and prospects if you don't know all that much about them. And while some might choose to follow President Truman's advice to "Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it," it is essential to have a genuine insight about the passions and miseries of your target universe. Genuine insight will uncover a service that matters, a service that your customers and prospects will truly appreciate.

This is How to Sell Motorcycle Insurance

Most people associate "insurance" with the possibility of having an accident ... so it's not something motorcycle riders want to give much thought to. But Allstate comes off as supporting the "dream" of owning a motorcycle. The Allstate Garage offers a stimulating example of Marketing as a Service at this very unique
Allstate Garage Web site.  

You can get an insurance quote and have fun building yourself a customized bike in 12 easy steps. This in-depth site also features:

  • scenic routes that can be viewed and mapped out for riding, courtesy of Google maps
  • safety tips
  • a forum to share riding experiences and
  • a calendar page of local and national events.

While I was putting my custom bike together, Allstate offered up tips on getting the right kind of insurance. Since I was customizing my dream bike I didn't find their "helpful hints" annoying in the least.  Check out the Web site and learn how to entertain, inform and market all at the same time.

(It's not your eyes. The cartoon is hard to read. Dale's gone and I'm not an accomplished "scanner." Sorry.)

Why Women Love to Hate Skinny Models

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Puppet
Mannequin American views and guidelines on marketing/PR trends plus bits of humor and interesting but useless information. For information on Chip's background, go to

I'm Not Here
I'm on vacation. Actually, I'm home. Dale and Leslie are on vacation. I'm house sitting. So if you want a beer, come on over. I'm taking time out of my vacation to write blogs to make sure that you continue to be informed and amused. I hope you do the same for me someday.

First to Leslie and Dale. After Dale retired from racing he searched for a new hobby. His choice ... sailing ... more specifically, sailing a 48 foot yacht. Unfortunately, he has never been on a sailboat in his life. So he and Leslie are at a three day introductory sailing boot camp this week. Then they will board a 48 foot boat like the one pictured above, and will live aboard that boat for 8 days while learning how to sail. Assuming that they don't kill each other fighting over who will hoist the mainsail, they should come back tanned and seaworthy. At least that's the plan. (I neglected to point out to them that they will be sailing in the Gulf of Mexico during peak Hurricane season. Oh, well, I'm sure they'll figure it out.)

No Wonder Women are so Difficult to Understand

Ladies, have a look at this ad featuring skinny supermodel Kate Moss. How does it make you feel? Let me tell you how it makes you feel: It makes you hate your own body, but really want to purchase that handbag Kate Moss is advertising! What am I, psychic? No, I'm just a Mannequin American telling you what the advertising industry discovered in a breakthrough study about skinny models. Women love to hate themselves and keep coming back for more. Hey, don't kill the messenger ... I'm as surprised as anyone.

The new study found that "ads featuring thin models made women feel worse about themselves but better about the brands featured." They make you despise your own "normal" body, and "subconsciously" try to correct the situation by buying the brand that's advertised.

The Villanova professor who ran the study ferreted out just what advertisers bank on: masochism. "The really interesting result we're seeing across multiple studies is that these thin models make women feel bad, but they like it," he said. "I'd be cautious about using models in advertising that wouldn't maximize the attitudes and evaluations of the advertising and the brands," he added.

No telling what this means for Spanx.

PSA's Can Be Done Well

Campbell-Ewald has done some pro bono campaign work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The commercials define parental responsibility down to the simple act of spending time with the kids. The 30-second PSA is sure to put a smile on your face. Even these wooden lips cracked a smile. Now I have to go get some touch-up paint. Check the PSA out here.

In the Opposite Direction

I'm not the type to get outraged by "sin." I figure we all do it to differing degrees and with differing amounts of humiliation and repentance. But I must admit that even I was surprised to learn that a rather effective ad for an over-the-line service had appeared on ESPN. It was for the Web site
AshleyMadison.com, which is a sort of a Match.com for extramarital trysts. Are you kidding me? The tagline: "Life is short. Have an Affair," is repulsive even to me ... and I'm hard to repulse. ESPN needs to get some class. Oh that's right, it's saturated with overpaid athletes who think they're important. That's about as "un-classy" and repulsive as it gets.

Egotistical Marketing Doesn't Work
One thing I've learned working in marketing for over 25 years ... you "people-types" love to talk about yourselves. In brochures you tell other people-types how wonderful you are and blather on about your innovative products and excellent services. It's all about you.

Want a tip? Your prospects don't care about you. They care about themselves.

For content to be effective, it has to be about your targeted audience, not about your company or your services. Don't talk at prospects; talk about prospects. People love to discuss themselves. They love hearing about themselves even more. They want to feel as if someone cares... as if someone is listening to and acknowledging them.

People want to hear you hearing them.

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