2010, 2011 PRSA WI Paragon Award of Excellence

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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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January 2009 - Posts

Cell Phone App for Marketers
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.
My Background
What I Do

About Brown & Martin, Inc.

Dominos Burns Subway

After receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Subway telling Domino's to stop airing its
new campaign, Domino's president David Brandon set fire to the document on national TV during a spot on American Idol. Gutsy, funny and worth a look.  Click here to watch.

It's No Longer About Your Cell Phone ... It's About Your Apps
So your cell phone has a brushed-metal shell, can flip and slide four ways and has more buttons than an airplane cockpit. Big deal.

The popularity of applications for the iPhone is driving a fierce competition among Apple and the makers of the BlackBerry and Palm devices.

Since July Apple has posted more than 10,000 programs to its App Store; 9 out of every 10 iPhone users have downloaded applications - more than 300 million over all. Some applications are free (like Stanza, which lets you download and read books) while others help users navigate roads, find friends, find local restaurants or play games.

Users say some programs can genuinely help productivity, but more often than not, they are time-wasting and sometimes - by showing off the powerful computing power of phones - jaw-dropping.  For instance, one popular application called Shazam lets users hold the phone up to a radio to identify within seconds what song is playing and by whom - and then give users a way to buy it on Apple's iTunes Store. 

The applications have also become a form of social status, as users compete to find the latest quirk, show off to friends or one-up each other with their discoveries. Peter Szurley, a lawyer in San Francisco, used his phone at a meeting two weeks ago to break the ice. At a restaurant, he started the meal with a new client by pulling out his iPhone, putting it to his lips, blowing into the microphone slot and moving his fingers across the touch screen. From the phone emanated the sounds of a flute. The application he was showing is called Ocarina. A 99-cent program that turns the phone into a digital flute, Ocarina is one of the most popular applications, having been downloaded by more than 400,000 iPhone owners.

Ian Mackey uses a program called Labyrinth, in which the user tilts the motion-sensitive phone to carefully guide a ball through a maze and avoid holes. He also has an application called iBeer that lets him tilt the phone back to make it look as if he is guzzling down a frosty cold one. That's about as close as he plans to come to actual beer for awhile; he's 11.

Click here or on the photo for an example of an unusual phone-movement app ... you may have to confirm your age to see it ... but it's office friendly.

It's stupid but a bit mesmerizing.

Here's an App Marketers and Buyers Will Welcome
Microsoft Tag allows anyone who sees print advertising, billboards, product packages, information signs or in-store merchandising, to use their cell phone to take a picture of the physical media and instantly get connected to online information. 

With the Microsoft Tag application, just aim your camera phone at a Tag and instantly access mobile content, videos, music, contact information, maps, social networks, promotions, and more. Nothing to type, no browsers to launch!

For instance, if you see a billboard about a local restaurant, you could aim your camera phone at a tag and instantly be able to make a reservation.

Below is a real tag that will be part of a direct mail piece that I'm creating. You can take a photo of this with your camera phone and if you have the Microsoft Tag app, you will instantly go to my favorite Web site. This technology is sure to become commonplace within the year and open up many creative avenues for marketers.

Lactivists Upset With Facebook
Facebook has ticked off various constituencies over the years, but recently it has pushed the button of one group that advertisers have learned are a force to be reckoned with: online moms. Specifically, in this case, lactivists -- or breastfeeding advocates.

(This photo was deleted from Facebook)

The group, "Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene," was formed in the summer of 2007 to protest Facebook's deletion of photos of breastfeeding moms and has spawned MILC -- or Mothers International Lactation Campaign. Facebook has yet to change its terms of service, which state that pictures exposing a full breast will be taken down.

A recent protest by the group involved nursing moms staging a "virtual nurse-in" outside Facebook's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters and moms changing profile pictures to photos of women or animals nursing.

While I applaud the exercise of free speech, I don't understand the problem? Facebook isn't saying photos of women breastfeeding won't be allowed on its site; it's saying only pictures that expose the full breast will be taken down -- whether they involve breastfeeding or baring it all to sell beer. But in response MILC created a place to collect all the photos Facebook has removed. (Seriously, if it was your mom, I doubt that you'd want some of these photos on the internet for the entire world to see.)

Use the comments section below to voice your opinion.

Would These be Censored on Facebook?

Sometimes I'm just soooo proud to be from Wisconsin ...

They Use to Smoke in Cartoons Too
If you don't remember cigarette advertising on television, then you certainly won't remember this ad from the Flintstones that showed Fred and Barney taking a cig break. I remember that TV doctors routinely smoked in hospitals and offered cigarettes to their patients. But I didn't remember this Flintstone ad ... which today seems so inappropriate that it's comical. And it's another reason that we still remember, "Winston Tastes Good, Like a ... ."



To Twitter or Not to Twitter

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.
My Background
What I Do
About Brown & Martin, Inc.

Chip Shot: Sweating is your body's way of telling you that you need to order a Mojito. And remember, No pain. No pain.

eTrade Baby Outtakes
From our friends at AdRants ... Here's an outtake clip from eTrade which highlights a few things that won't be seen during the Super Bowl. Baby gets down with friends. Baby comments on the economy. Baby cusses. Baby ogles booty. Yes, the baby is back.

Be Happy This Wasn't You
To Twitter or not to Twitter?

I don't Twitter. I won't get into the debate about how "significant" or "insignificant" Twitter is. Frankly I just don't have the time ... even for 140 character bursts of brilliance. But the potential consequences of "tweeting" were recently made painfully clear.

As reported by AdRants, an ad agency executive was on his way to make a presentation to a client ... a big client ... a really big client. He landed. He got off the plane. He headed to his destination. For some reason he launched Twitter and wrote, "True confession but I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say 'I would die if I had to live here!'"

An employee at the client company saw the tweet, (Duh) got upset and fired off an email expressing offense to the tweet...and cc'd agency and client management.

The agency executive? Ketchum VP James Andrews. The client? FedEx...based in Memphis.

Oops. Big oops!

Put the Tweeter down and step away.

Twitter Note: By the way, if you're not familiar with how Twitter is used by companies to promote their brands, Mashable highlights the 40 best brand accounts on Twitter -- including Ford, Jet Blue, Hertz and Home Depot -- and the people behind them. After you read the study, which is pretty interesting, you can make up your own mind about whether or not Twitter is something your company should get involved with.

GoDaddy Does it Again

Actually I included this article simply because it gave me an excuse to run another photo of Danica Patrick. (Click on the picture to see her entire spread for Sports Illustrated.)

As always, domain-buying service GoDaddy took full advantage of its liaison with racecar driver Danica Patrick and her beaver (outrageous  2008 commercial) for this year's Super Bowl spot by making the commercials as seductive as possible in hopes that the network will refuse to run them ... thus providing even more publicity and a higher profile for GoDaddy. Hey, it's worked in the past.

Up to January 23rd you could cast your vote for your favorite Danica GoDaddy.com commercial. My favorite is "Shower." Like last year, each spot continues in an unrated online version.

By the way, is it my imagination or is there a lot less hype about Super Bowl commercials this year than in past years? (I just reread "a lot less" and it strikes me as being an oxymoron.) Maybe $3 million for 30 seconds has become a tad too high in this down economy?

I'm Doing My Part ... But Many Others Aren't
I'm a home-town-product-loyalist, so I drink Miller Lite ... or whatever someone is buying me. Regardless, I can't keep Miller Lite afloat all by myself. The rest of you have to pitch in and drink your share. I tried drinking your share but I couldn't do it ... and I still have a headache from the attempt.

Miller Lite's shipments to retailers declined a startling 7.5% in the fourth quarter, driving its parent MillerCoors' results into negative territory.

The quarter is believed to be Miller Lite's worst since the early 1990s, and it "almost certainly" is the worst quarterly drop of shipments by a premium-light-beer brand in this decade. Quarterly losses of that magnitude have more typically been associated with full-calorie brews such as Miller Genuine Draft and Budweiser, largely because light beers have been stealing their customers.

Miller Lite is MillerCoors' largest brand -- for now at least. It shipped 18.4 million barrels in 2007, compared with Coors Light's 17.3 million. Together the two brands account for 56% of MillerCoors' volume.

1 Second TV Ads

In a clever move Miller High Life is using a series of one-second ads airing during Super Bowl pre-game festivities on 25 local NBC stations to mock A-B for buying four minutes and 30 seconds of ad time during a game that commands about $3 million per 30-second spot. As the intro on Miller's Web site featuring the spots puts it: "Paying $3 million for a 30-second commercial makes as much sense as putting sauerkraut on a donut. Actually, even that makes more sense."

That not-at-all veiled barb at A-B comes at a time when consumers are trading down from pricier beers such as Heineken and Corona to cheaper ones. The spots, available on 1secondad.com, feature Miller's delivery-driver guy, played by actor Windell Middlebrooks, making brief one-second exclamations, such as "bean dip" and "Miller Time." Some have an outtake feel, showing him getting makeup or asking for help with his lines. My favorite is when he looks into the camera and says, "One Mississippi."



Office Party Guidelines

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.
My Background
What I Do
About Brown & Martin, Inc.

You Can Choose Doritos' Super Bowl Ad

Doritos once again asked individuals to submit ad ideas for its Super Bowl commercial. The company has narrowed the entries down to five finalists. Now you can pick the winner of this year's "Crash the Super Bowl" contest. Whichever ad receives the most votes, will be aired during the Super Bowl.  All five are funny in their own way. So go to the Web site, watch the ads and vote to see if you're able to choose the ad that eventually runs during the big game. I voted and I'll let you know if I picked the winning ad. Think you're a better judge of ads than this Mannequin American? Prove it. 

Sneak Preview of CareerBuilder Super Bowl Ad

Click here to see CareerBuilder's entertaining commercial that will air during the Super Bowl. I miss the monkeys from previous ads, and I object to the way they use the word "dummy," but it's still a funny ad.

Real Estate Company Pulls all National TV Ads in Favor of the Web

Century 21, one of the first real estate companies to advertise on TV, is pulling all national TV advertising in 2009 and redirecting its efforts and ad dollars to the Web. With the beleaguered real estate market showing no signs of a turnaround, the realtor has decided to play the numbers and go where the buyers and sellers are: online.

Century 21 spent $26 million on U.S. media in the first nine months of last year. The company spent $2.3 million of that online.

"There are a lot of possibilities online, not only classic display advertising but a lot of methodologies with search-enhanced listings for real estate properties and enhanced technologies," a spokesperson said.

Squeaking Balloon Animals

We all hit an age where our innocence is lost and we should be kept away from balloon animals. Why? Because, given the opportunity, we'll grab two and put them in compromising poses. Capitalizing on this sad phenomenon, condom maker, Durex, produced a short online video, which has been dubbed kama-balloon-animal-sutra.

Yes, I believe the balloon animals are made from condoms. And be warned, the video is not exactly "office friendly." But it's pretty darn funny.  The sound of squeaking balloons will never seem the same again.

Movie Poster
I'm sorry that I don' know who created this mock movie poster. But it was forwarded to me and because I'm old enough to have grown up with all of these characters I think it's pretty clever.

Office Party Guidelines
There are few "fun" activities quite so vexing as the Office Holiday Party; that obligatory gathering of bosses and subordinates, cronies and rivals, back-stabbers and back-stabbees; plus a horde of husbands and wives who spend the entire night planning their escape.

Every year you fantasize about sending an RSVP marked "Thanks, but no thanks." Then you return to reality and break the news to your spouse. "It'll be different this time," you lie. "It'll be fun."

"I'll go to yours, if you'll go to mine," your mate responds. "And you have to promise to behave."

This brings us to the art of gaffe avoidance. After all, who isn't but one faux pas from the unemployment line? Dodging the pitfalls of office party protocol can be a daunting challenge. But with the help of the following "formal" agreement, you'll survive yet another function with your job intact. 

AGREEMENT entered into on ____________, by Husband and Wife (collectively referred to as "Couple").

WHEREAS, Couple's employers suffer from the delusion that Office Christmas Parties are good for morale;

WHEREAS, Couple, being sane individuals, would prefer to stay home; and

WHEREAS, although Couple can't prove a connection, everyone who skipped last year's bash is now unemployed.

NOW, THEREFORE, Couple hereby agrees to the following office party guidelines:

To view the guidelines ... (and they'll make you laugh if you've "been there,") click here.

England's Rapid Response Prayer Unit
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.
My Background
What I Do

About Brown & Martin, Inc.

Are You a "Pusher" or a "Puller"?
We're not talking about "push vs. pull marketing strategies" but rather, do you push your shopping cart or pull it through the checkout? The majority of people (74%) are pullers. And men and women are equally likely to be pullers. (The survey only targeted people shopping by themselves because parents almost always push the cart to keep children from falling out or misbehaving.)

So what does your grocery-cart maneuvering say about you?

Pullers tend to be more aggressive and impatient about the shopping experience, while pushers tend to take their time and go with the flow. Pullers also perceive themselves to be more time-sensitive, more in control and willing to break with tradition. Pushers, however, were more traditional and tended not to have as many reasons as to why they drive that way, rather saying "it's just a habit" or "it's the right thing to do."

Neither group is likely to switch, according to the survey findings. Whether they pulled or pushed, each believed that their way was the best way.

So what does all this mean? Well, it could actually mean a lot to the grocery stores, retailers and marketers that make significant sales by marketing to people who might not be, in fact, pushing their carts through the lane at the front of the store. The front of the store is a department, accounting for 1% of sales or more. It's designed for consumers to make impulse purchases as they push through. If you're pulling, your back is to the merchandise most of that time. And that means marketers need to employ different strategies to "break through the psyche" of the now-majority pullers. For instance, the findings show that pullers, who are a little more assertive and more efficiency-oriented, might not respond well to cashiers pitching specific products.

The theory is that there's a better way to appeal to pullers. It you figure out how, give me a call and we may be able to make some money!

Prayers for the Unemployed and Employed
The Church of England is trying to comfort workers hit by redundancy (English-speak for "unemployed") with prayers.

It has offered encouragement both to the thousands laid off in the recession and to those who feel guilty they are still in employment. The "Prayer on being made redundant" and "Prayer for those remaining in the workplace" were published by the Church's "rapid response prayer unit" (I didn't make that up) that was set up last year to provide spiritual aid to those suffering through debt and unemployment.

The Church launched its "matter of life and debt" program a year ago. It revolved around a series of prayers, and clergy advice to parishioners with money problems on how to get professional help. Last autumn, as the major banks collapsed, it produced a "Prayer for the current financial situation." Church officials say 30,000 people have read this prayer since it was published in September.

Here are the prayers.
Prayer on Being Made Redundant...Redundant - the word says it all - useless, unnecessary, without purpose, surplus to requirements.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, that in the middle of the sadness, the anger, the uncertainty, the pain, I can talk to you,
Hear me as I cry out in confusion, help me to think clearly, and calm my soul,
As life carries on, may I know your presence with me each and every day. And as I look to the future, help me to look for fresh opportunities, for new directions,
Guide me by your Spirit, and show me your path. Through Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.-Amen.

Prayer for Those Remaining in the Workplace ... Life has changed, colleagues have gone - redundant, out of work. Suddenly, what seemed so secure is now so very fragile. It's hard to know what I feel: Sadness, guilt almost, at still having a job to go to, and fear of the future. Who will be next? How will I cope with the increased pressure of work?
Lord Jesus, in the midst of this uncertainty, help me to keep going, to work to the best of my ability, taking each day at a time and taking time each day to walk with you, for you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen.

No blue Web link for this ... you'll have to use old-fashioned prayer.

Gallianlo Sambuca Revisits its Italian Heritage Through Humorous Sign Language
A new Web site for Galliano Sambuca strives to elevate Sambuca from a shot drink to a classy beverage while also embracing the Italian tradition of gesticulating with your hands as you speak.

Visitors can listen to accordion strains, learn to "speak Galliano" through various illustrated hand signs and watch some very funny videos. My favorites are the "How's Your Galliano?" videos. The first one gives you two choices of how to negotiate your way out of a parking ticket using Italian sign language. The pantomimes are funny onto themselves ... but the narratives that explain the sign language are hysterical. Once again ... humor sells.

Click here to go to the Web site and when you get to the home page click on "How's Your Galliano?"

How Did They Come Up With This?

Audi has launched a new quirky yet impressive commercial in Europe for the new Audi Q5. Unbox the Box features an animated cartoon character. Seriously, click on the link and you'll say to yourself, "How did they ever think of that?"

Quote of the Day
"Sex is one of the most wholesome, beautiful and natural experiences money can buy."

Steve Martin

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