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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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February 2009 - Posts

Communicating Through Puppets

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.

More Communicating Through Puppets

Our long-time friend Dennis Bowman is a Meteorologist on KDKA-TV in Pittsburg. He's also a very accomplished and very funny ventriloquist. Dennis has been doing educational and entertaining school shows with his Mannequin American side-kick Chester Drawers, for many years. Now those shows are offered to schools at no charge courtesy of KDKA. You can learn more about Dennis' school shows here on the KDKA website .

And this
YouTube video shows Dennis doing a great job with a classic routine at a comedy club.

It's good to see a vent of Dennis' caliber still working and still using his Mannequin American pals to help educate and entertain kids.

Fat Toys Aimed at Keeping Obesity From Children
"Keep obesity away from your child" is the tagline of a new campaign for an organization called Active Life Movement. Instead of fat kids, the ads show fat toys: a superhero, pirates and a Barbie-like doll.

See the full ads here, here and here over at Ads of the World. Details like the Cake Crusader's dripping ice-cream cone and Big-Butt Barbie's empty takeout carton are creative. Still, if the toys are comfortable with themselves, isn't that the most important thing?

Because Life's Greatest Adventure Shouldn't be Finding a Bathroom?
Here's a product that may or may not make sense to you.

Gogirl is a feminine urination device that lets women go anywhere. Simply put, it's a female urination device that allows women to pee while standing up. The device was invented by a doctor to help women who couldn't sit because of hip or knee replacements. Now, they're targeting a larger market ... active women. Click here to go to the Web site.

From the Web site: "If you camp, you'll love GoGirl. If you ski, you'll love GoGirl. If you boat, you'll love GoGirl. If you travel, you'll love GoGirl. If you just want to avoid the germs you find in nasty public toilets, you'll love GoGirl. GoGirl is for active women of all types and ages." (Get to know some GoGirls) The product received mixed reviews in our office.

Here's a TV news video about the product that includes women guessing what the product is used for.

Humiliate Customers on Your Behalf
From AdPulp, according to The New York Times, Air New Zealand marketing execs commissioned 30 "cranial billboards," made with henna on newly shaved heads.

For shaving their noggins and displaying the ad copy for two weeks in November, the hairless ones received either a round-trip ticket to New Zealand (worth about $1,200) or $777 in cash (an allusion to the Boeing 777, a model in the airline's fleet). Without my wig, my head would make a great billboard ... except for that distracting little trap door thing in the back.

A Band like The Monkees ... Only They're Women and They Perform in Their Sponsor's Underwear
From AdFreak.com ... Meet the Vassarettes, advertising's "first and hottest bra brand band."

Vanity Fair Inc. hired this quartet of ladies through an American Idol-esque audition to serve as a female version of the Monkees ... except that they perform in their underwear.

The Web site, Vassarettes.com, now serves as an introduction to the band, and features their theme song, "Are you ready for the real thing?" The site also includes a "Bras" area with all the rocker trappings and bras flung around as if you've stumbled into an all-girl orgy-you click on one to learn about each undergarment's particulars. The "Band" area features video and diaries. The Vassarettes will make their TV debut on Style Network's Running in Heels on April 19.

To my women readers: Does this kind of thing sell underwear? I'm a marketing guru and frankly, I have my doubts. But let me know what you think.

I'm Not Here Today

As you're reading this I'm jetting my way to Las Vegas to see Terry Fator (America's Got Talent) in the new Terry Fator Theatre at the Mirage. We'll be back stage after his show and if he allows his picture to be taken with Dale, I'll include one with next week's blog. (It must be nice to work with a partner who has talent.)

Lemons into Marketing Lemonade

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 Like Me! You Really Like Me!
Lucky you! You're reading one of the top blogs rated by the editors of Blogged.com. The reviewers gave this blog a 7.1 score out of (10) in the recreation/marketing category of Blogged.com.

This is quite an achievement! They told me so.

The evaluation was based on: Frequency of Updates, Relevance of Content, Site Design, and Writing Style. As far as I can tell my blog is ranked around 420 out of more than 2,000 blogs. Not bad for a Mannequin American.

So I'd like to thank all of my RSS subscribers and the hundreds of visitors we get each week.  Without readers this blog wouldn't exist.  Just like it wouldn't exist without my rapacious research and reading appetite ... not to mention my witty writing skills.

Laboratory Offers "Designer Children"
From the WSJ ... Do you want a daughter with blond hair, green eyes and pale skin?

A Los Angeles clinic says it will soon help couples select both gender and physical traits in a baby when they undergo a form of fertility treatment. The clinic, Fertility Institutes, says the service is based on a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

While PGD has long been used for the medical purpose of averting life-threatening diseases in children, the science behind it has quietly progressed to the point that it could potentially be used to create designer babies. It isn't clear that Fertility Institutes can yet deliver on its claims of trait selection. But the growth of PGD has accelerated genetic knowledge swiftly enough that pre-selecting cosmetic traits in a baby is no longer the stuff of science fiction.

"This is cosmetic medicine," says Jeff Steinberg, director of the clinic that is advertising gender and physical trait selection on its Web site.

PGD is a technique whereby a three-day-old embryo, consisting of about six cells, is tested in a lab to see if it carries a particular genetic disease. Embryos free of that disease are implanted in the mother's womb. Introduced in the 1990s, it has allowed thousands of parents to avoid passing on deadly disorders to their children. For more info click here.

Speaking of "Choosing Eye Color"

Visit the deliciously dollhousey
Coraline Web site. It's a fun Web site if you've got some time to waste. Enter the house, then click on the picture frame if you want, stitch buttons onto your face. There are plenty of buttons to choose from, and each set is coupled with curiously thought-out descriptions. You can give yourself or others button eyes and embeds are available for MySpace and Facebook.

You'll also see the Coraline Nike Dunks Giveaway offer and trailers for the movie. All in all, a very expensive Web site.

Jim Barber Wins "Best Specialty Act" Award

Our very good friend Jim Barber has been awarded the
WWS Branson Show Award for Best Specialty Act. The award says that Jim "... takes ventriloquism to a new height. As people watch this show they can't help but think ‘how does he do it?'"

We've known Jim for a long time and without a doubt, he is one of the most creative vent acts in the country. His "Barber and Seville" act, (click here for Jim's David Letterman appearance) pictured above, is hysterical. Congratulations to Jim. If you go to Branson don't miss the Hamner Barber show. Click here for more information.

How to Turn Lemons into Limoncellos

From our friends at AdFreak.com, here's a reminder that not all celebrity PR disasters end in tears and/or collapsed endorsement deals.

On the morning of Nov. 29, 2006, Danny DeVito showed up sloppy drunk on ABC's The View after a long night out with George Clooney. See the classic video of his appearance here. "I knew it was the last seven limoncellos that was going to get me," he told the hosts, before embarking on a rambling tale about spending the night in the Lincoln bedroom in the White House (and attempting to "really wreck the joint" with his wife, Rhea Perlman) and then getting bleeped out for using an obscenity to refer to George W. Bush.

Rather than wallow in the shame of it all afterward, DeVito launched Danny DeVito's Premium Limoncello, which is produced and bottled on an estate of lemon trees on Italy's Sorrento peninsula.

Marketing is Everyone's Responsibility

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.

Even a Dummy Mannequin American Knows That Marketing is Everyone's Responsibility
One of the smartest things any business can do is create and carry out marketing training for everyone in the company. This includes delivery people, administrative people, frontline employees ... everyone. 

Marketing your company ... your brand ... is your company's heart and soul. It defines what you do, how you do it and why you do it your way. Anyone associated with your business who comes into contact with a prospect or customer is performing a marketing function. Everyone should understand what they can do to be effective, consistent ambassadors for your company.

This marketing training for everyone doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, those who received the latest issue of the B&M newsletter also received a White Paper titled, "Marketing is Everyone's Responsibility." The paper describes how to implement a marketing training program to make everyone in your company better informed, more effective representatives of your company. Click here for a printer friendly copy of the White Paper. And if you need help in creating a marketing training program, contact B&M or email me at chip.martin@bmpr.com

Do You Market to "Create Buzz" or to "Sell"?
According to a recent article on AdAge.com, Super Bowl advertisers who "bought the most ad time ended up reaping the most chatter among the Twitterers, bloggers and online talkers."

I respond with a big, "So what?"

I know I'm going to raise the wrath of some advertising guru's, but I'm one of those cynics who stills believes that the purpose of most advertising is to "sell," versus to be among the "top 10 most-talked-about advertisers online." Keep in mind that I'm talking about people who have time to "talk" among themselves online and who believe that what they say to each other online really matters even though there is no proof that online "buzz" about Super Bowl commercials correlates to increased sales. (Sorry that sentence is so long but I don't have time to go back and figure out how to make it shorter.)

I'll admit that I'm not basing my opinion on scientific studies ... instead I'm relying on Mannequin American common sense. Let's look at two Super Bowl ads that focused on "selling" ...  Cash4Gold.com featuring Ed McMann and TeleFlora, featuring the abusive talking flowers in a box. Ironically these two were ranked among the worst ads by many polls and advertising "experts."  Here's another irony. Other experts predict that these two ads will probably result in sales spikes. Huh? Even with Dale standing behind me, I'm speechless.

My point here is that polls, expert opinions, Twitterers, bloggers and online talkers contribute nothing to the bottom lines of those who advertised during the Super Bowl. It's the people who walk into stores and purchase the products that impact bottom lines. And most of those people don't have time to twitter, or blog or even email each other to "talk" about Super Bowl ads.

In these tough times, ads need to do more than entertain and create buzz ... they need to sell. If they can entertain while selling all the better. But entertaining just to create buzz is not the best use of marketing dollars. So if you have $3 million in your ad budget, I'd advise you to spend it someplace other than the Super Bowl. But what do I know ... I'm just a marketing blogger who's talking online to a lot of other marketers ... I think I just gave myself a headache and irreparably damaged my self esteem.

By the way, if you want an easy to use, clickable video list of all of the Super Bowl ads click here.  

Get a Tan From Your Computer

If you know someone who likes to lie out in the sun a lot, or uses tanning beds to get toasty brown, you should send them to
ComptuterTan.com. The Web site is very state-of-the-art and promotes a computer application that enables users to tan using their computer monitor.  The site is so good that it fools a lot of people ... which is the point.

When you click the button to start your free session your monitor goes through several changes and makes many people expect to be able to start tanning. But at the last moment you're shown close up photos of skin cancer ... pretty gross photos at that. And then you're told how many people die from skin cancer each day. Health tips follow. It's so well done that you just have to send it to someone you know!

How a Ventriloquist Became the Country's Most Popular Stand-up Comedian

By every conceivable measure, Jeff Dunham is America's favorite comedian. Jeff''s Very Special Christmas Special, which aired on Comedy Central in November, was the most-watched broadcast in the network's history. His previous concert film, Spark of Insanity, got the best reviews of any DVD on Amazon.com in 2008. And according to the concert-industry watchers at Pollstar, Jeff was last year's highest-grossing stand-up act in North America, with $19.2 million in tickets sold.

Click here to read "The Hardest Working Hand in Show Business," an in depth article about Jeff that appeared this week in Slate magazine.

Balloon Sculptures Taken to a Whole New Level
If you're in to making balloon animals, or you like balloon sculptures, this may amuse you. The Italian magazine
Domus' recently featured photographer Paul Graves' photos of balloon-constructed people (and their innards) and other subjects. Below are a couple of shots from his 2008 Balloon Sculpture Series. To see more, click here. Some of them are pretty amazing.

New Best Buy Signs

When I first saw this sign I presumed Best Buy was kicking Circuit City while it was down. But after more thought, it occured to me that there are goodly numbers of not-too-honest, or not-too-bright consumers who may actually expect Best Buy to match Circuit City's going-out-of-business prices. So I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that it's not meant as mean-spirited sarcasm.


It Worked for the President

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.

Who's Deed Was Worse ... Michael's or the Dude Who Took the Photo?

A couple of weeks ago there wasn't a whole lot that made me laugh on "Saturday Night Live" except for Seth Meyer's "Really?" rant at the end of "Weekend Update." It was poignant and funny and it was about Michael Phelps, the bong, and the cell phone photo.
Click here to see Meyer's take on just who was the bigger jerk ... Phelps or the guy who sold the photo.

And thanks to Gene Mueller and John Jagler at WTMJ we learned something else about Michael Phelps ... he's a really nice guy. Below is a photo of 9-year old Connor Bourke of Jefferson, WI with Phelps. Connor met Phelps in Baltimore a few days after the "bong photo" cost Phelps his association with Kellogg's and while he was still in a lot of hot water over the matter.

Connor and his mom had dinner with Phelps and the Olympian's mother.  Like Phelps, Connor is a swimmer. Connor also has inoperable brain cancer.

In the middle of a media firestorm, in the middle of embarrassment, Phelps took time out to meet this boy who calls him a hero.  He could have ducked it.  He could have canceled.  He didn't. According to Connor's mother, "He was all about Connor. He took him shopping, let Connor interview him, went swimming with him and took us out for dinner. His mother was darling. They made us feel welcome and treated us like old friends. Connor couldn't stop hugging Michael! I think Michael was as equally fond of Connor, but how could you not be. Connor's dream came true and I am very thankful to Michael and all who helped make this possible. God Bless each of you."

So the next time somebody cracks bad on Phelps, forward them to this site.  It's Connor's family's blog.  It's about stuff that REALLY matters. Some perspective is nice.  Phelps could have ducked out of this or gone half way and people probably would have understood. Instead, he did the right thing. No major media picked up on the nice thing. Phelps didn't ask them to. He did it for Connor and his family. In my eyes he became a bigger hero than when he won all those medals.

Post Script: I just found this bit of info. Speedo Chief Marketing Officer, Craig Brommers, recently gave a rousing endorsement of Michael Phelps and his character at Ad Age's Marketing 50 awards ceremony. Speedo was honored at the event for the wild sales success of its LZR Racer suit, which Phelps endorses and wore in the Olympics as he swam to eight gold medals. Speedo has since sold more than 15,000 of those garments at $550 apiece.

In Support of Private Jets
The image problem for the private-aircraft business began last year when auto executives from Detroit's Big Three were soundly and publicly flogged for flying private jets to Washington to ask for bailout money. The ensuing outcry grew so loud that the car companies gave up their fleets. Stupid.

I've actually flown in private jets. In a single day I was able to do three corporate presentations, at three different plant facilities in three different states (with a Vice President of the company) thanks to using a private jet. It saved a lot of time. And in real business, time is money. In government, "time" is something you try and get on television so people can see you pontificate.  But in business, "time" is a very precious commodity ... especially for those responsible for managing things. So I don't begrudge corporations for having corporate jets.

And what about all those skilled workers who produce those aircraft? Apparently politicians don't care if those people lose their jobs because of off-handed remarks elected officials make.

Cessna, the largest producer of private jets, has decided to fight back. The first of what will be a series of ads recently ran in the Wall Street Journal. I like the ad.

Outer Space Stimulus
Factoring in for inflation today, rebuilding the Death Star would cost 15 septillion dollars. I can't make this stuff up ... well, okay, I could, but in this case, I researched it.

NCAA Players Can't Drink Sponsor's Product

This just caught my eye as perhaps a poor job of selecting the proper marketing venue.

Coca-Cola's Vitaminwater is a major marketing partner for the NCAA -- but its players shouldn't drink six of its varieties or they might test positive for banned substances.

In October, Coca-Cola inked a multiyear agreement to display Vitaminwater's Revive flavor on the sidelines during all college championship games. But only a month later, Vitaminwater was cited in a little-noted section on the NCAA Web site as producing six flavors containing banned or impermissible substances that could result in positive drug tests.

Revive is the only flavor that is directly affiliated with the NCAA, and it does not contain banned or impermissible substances. Another eight flavors are available on a by-request basis to players. The NCAA Web site states the six flavors that include impermissible substances do not have a direct association with the NCAA, and in situations where they are displayed alongside NCAA-themed promotions a visible disclaimer will be provided.

The Rescue and Energy flavors are both banned because they contain caffeine or guarana-seed extract, according to the NCAA Web site. The other four beverages, B-relaxed, Vital-T, Balance and Power-C, include impermissible substances such as Taurine, L-theanine, green-tea extract and glucosamine. Other impermissible substances include various amino acids, protein powders and ginseng. An impermissible substance is not able to be provided by coaches or trainers to students, but players are able to purchase products with impermissible substances.

It Worked for the President ...

... until I get a better agent. 

You can "Obamican" a photo of yourself by clicking here.   It's sort of fun and you can send it to friends.


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