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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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March 2009 - Posts

How to Engage Employees During Difficult Times

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.

Charmin Shows BlackBerry and iPhone Users
Where to Go When They Gotta Go

Charmin continues to successfully market and gain market share without directly "selling" its product. The company now offers a free mobile app that supplies locations and ratings of public restrooms.

The wiki, housed on the Web at SitOrSquat.com and available as a mobile application for BlackBerry and iPhone, is turning the digital masses into a mobile army of restroom reviewers. The app helps locate public restrooms and provides star ratings based on cleanliness and other amenities.

As of last month, SitOrSquat had logged more than 52,000 toilets in 10 countries, more than half a million unique visitors and more than 1,600 downloads of its mobile apps.

This is just another effort by Charmin at nontraditional branding, a la the Times Square restrooms; the mobile Pottypalooza program it ran from 2003 to 2005; and the "Charminizing" program in which it cleaned up public restrooms at state fairs starting in 2000.

Engage Your Employees

"Be honest with your staff about the impact of the recession" is the advice Dale gives in an article he recently wrote for Milwaukee BizTimes. (He wrote it in crayon, so I'm surprised they printed it.)

Dale offers several "how-to" tips including advice on using "humor" to relieve tension, enhance rapport and make messages more memorable.  You can read the article in its entirety by clicking here.  By the way, if you don't receive Milwaukee BizTimes, you should go to their web site and sign up. It's a valuable tool for any business. The publicaiton offers excellent how-to articles and informative business-related stories.

Vegas is a Small Town
While sitting at a bar at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Dale was tapped on the shoulder. He turned around to see our good friend Glen Gerard, one of the country's top comedy magicians. (Glen is an excellent illusionist too, but his comedy shows are hysterical.)

Glen and his wife had just arrived in Vegas from Milwaukee to attend a magic convention.  (You could tell they were from Milwaukee because they're first stop was at the bar.) For the next hour Glen and Dale entertained the rest of us with behind the scenes stories of shows they've done where everything imaginable went wrong. It was a funny and an enjoyable time.

If you're ever looking for a magic act that will have your audience in the aisles, give Glen a call. Here's his Web site and here's his promotional video.

While we were in Vegas Leslie also ran into someone she knew. I think she dated this guy when she was in college.

Uncle Jay Does it Again
  

Usually I cringe when anyone uses the "D" word. But in this case, Uncle Jay applies the word correctly. Click here or on the photo to see Uncle Jay's take on the bailout.

The Two & Only Continues to Sell Out

We just received a note from Jay Johnson that his show played to sold out capacity while in Rochester at the Geva NextStage Theatre.  If this Tony Award Winner comes to a theatre near you, don't miss it.

Ronn Lucas

Speaking of vents and Vegas, Ronn Lucas recently ended his run at the EXCALIBUR. He has a new Web site that says he's revamping his show and hopes to re-open somewhere in Vegas next month.


JetBlue Markets with Humor

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.

Fashion Made from Muppets
From my friends at Tough Pigs, I'd like to draw your attention to the following photograph, taken at a fashion show in Paris last week and stolen from somewhere on the Internet.

When you see this picture, you probably have one of two reactions:
1. "Sweet merciful crap, she KILLED all those Kermits!!!"
2. "Dude... She's totally topless under the frogs."

Either way, the real question is, "Why would somebody do this?" Even a Muppet fan wouldn't wear this thing.

Bucky Balls ... the Perfect Gift

How do I not already own Bucky Balls? Watch the video. They do everything! At this very moment, I could be making them into sculptures, wearing them as jewelry or rubbing them in my hands for stress relief. Heck, the Bucky Balls Web site promises that you can "use them to hold even the heaviest items securely to the fridge," which will finally solve my cast-iron-skillet storage issues.

There are, admittedly, a few catches. If the $19.95 isn't too steep for you, you might be turned off by the extensive warning on the site. All those hours of fun could end in tears when the Bucky Balls wipe your hard drive clean, choke your children under 12 or put the hurt on your friend with a pacemaker. But I'd say it's worth the risk. Click here or on the photo to see the video.

This is How to be Welcomed Aboard

We've all heard the mindlessly boring pre-flight announcements airline attendants make prior to taking off. All that boring stuff about putting the tray up, placing the seat in the upright position, properly stowing your carry on, turning off electronic devices and all kinds of other rules that just make you want to fall asleep.

Not on Southwest. Not if you have David as a flight attendant. Check out how he welcomes passengers on his flights.

Laugh Out Loud With JetBlue



Speaking of airlines, this is very entertaining. JetBlue is pitching execs with tarnished golden parachutes with a tongue-in-cheek series of online videos. The objective is to acclimate bigwigs, accustomed to their own jets, to the somewhat-less-private JetBlue experience.

It's really funny, and I love it when the dude makes an allusion to private jets on Craigslist in Episode 3. For those so inclined, worldly wage-earners with a sense of humor can "Have [their] assistants book now."

Pass the Box of Water


Boxed Water is Better, features minimalist packaging which will help bottled-water elitists be more eco by using packaging made from renewable resources.

The boxed format that has become popular with other fine beverages means empty containers can be shipped flat back to a water plant. More flattened boxes can fit in a truck than whole bottles, so emptied Boxed Water containers require fewer truckloads.

Nothing's sexier than a rapidly-shrinking carbon footprint.

Comedy Central Signs Dunham to Six-Episode Series

Comedy Central has signed a development deal with the ventriloquist
Jeff Dunham who starred in the most-watched show in its history, Variety reported. The debut of "Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special" drew 6.6 million viewers in November, and a DVD release sold more than 400,000 copies. His deal with Comedy Central includes a six-episode series planned for 2010, as well as a standup special and a new DVD.


Marketing IPhone App That Works

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.

Dunham Will Return to WI

Click on the following link to see Jeff Dunham's video interview with Punchline Magazine. In it he explains that one of his keys to success was realizing early on that ventriloquism by itself is a novelty act with limited appeal. He recognized that if he wanted to be successful he had to be more than just a great ventriloquist; he also had to be a great comedian.

There is an excellent lesson in that for other vents; puppets on their own aren't enough. If you want to make it as a performer, you first have to be a great entertainer and second, a great ventriloquist.

Jeff will be back in WI on Thursday, May 14th, at the Resch Center in Green Bay and on Friday, May 29th at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Click here to get his tour schedule and ticket info.

Jeff is only performing at arena venues now. I talked with him about a week ago (actually he called to tell Dale that he had just purchased a Ford GT ... one-upping Dale's Corvette ... and Dale's life in general). At the time of Jeff's call he was about to go on stage to perform for 8,000 people in SC. At the same time we were preparing to leave for a Chamber of Commerce gig with an audience of about 250. Sort of puts things in perspective. I've got to get a better partner!

Simple But Effective Paper Marketing Vehicles

We've all heard the legend that JK Rowling sketched the birth of Harry Potter out on a dinner napkin. The iconic "I Love New York" campaign was supposedly conceived in similarly humble circumstances -- on somebody's crumpled serviette. And a few of the jokes in my act had their origin on a napkin ... and hundreds that didn't seem funny the next day.

To leverage the power of this unlikely communication vehicle, the School of Visual Arts re-imagines dinner napkins, toilet paper, sugar sachets and other incidental scraps as college-ruled paper. (see photo)

Across the bottom of each sheet is the message, "Think. School of Visual Arts." Nice, simple and instantly-engaging. Now if people could just remember how to use a pen.

How to Pretend to Work

Click here to see a short funny video on how to pretend to work. It was put together entirely on Microsoft Office for Mac.

It's a fun little watch, loaded with sneaky new tips for feigning productivity while rehashing stuff you probably already do -- like keeping that Excel spreadsheet just within easy toggling distance.

New App Simplifies Shopping

Enough people have paid 99 cents for Kraft's iFood Assistant that it is now one of the device's 100 most popular paid apps, and No. 2 in the lifestyle category. With its endeavor, Kraft is pulling off a rare trick; getting consumers to pay a one-time 99-cent fee for the app and also sit through ads on it. And in the process, it's collecting useful data for targeting them more closely.

The app offers a host of recipes, browse-able by ingredients, meal type or prep time. Consumers may register at KraftFoods.com to save recipes and build shopping lists.

Recipes come with instructions simple enough for the uninitiated, and daily featured recipes try to tempt the uninspired. Of course, the dishes incorporate Kraft products. There are a number of instructional videos, with guides to portion sizes and knife skills, as well as step-by-step directions for making dishes. 

The lesson: When a marketer creates something that's actually useful, buyers are willing to accept advertising as part of the deal.


New 3-D Baseball Cards

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.

Please Tell Me Why Anyone is Buying This Product


I don't know why the
Doodle Bra exists. But it's real and it offers a broad selection of stencils that one can use to "doodle" on their Doodle Bra.

Someone out there is getting rich on this.  (Pretty nice mannequin ... unless you want one that can turn her head).

You Suck at Photoshop

This five minute, homemade Photoshop tutorial is made even funnier by interruptions from the narrator's wife and phone calls from friends. At the same time, you'll probably learn a lot about using Photoshop ... but you'll learn even more about the producer's private life which is hysterical. And if you're not real fond of cats, you'll love the end of segment 2.

Click here or on the photo to see "You Suck at Photoshop."

More Interesting Photos
These photos are fascinating ... and a little scary.

Funny Commercial for "Sound"

Here's a clever way to highlight the "extremely realistic sound" touted by Loewe.

You've got a choir performing a piece while an invisible remote zapper toggles between sound options. The choir changes to provide the desired audio texture. As "bass" increases on the dial, additional bassists run to the front; when volume is increased, more join the choir. The conductor's questioning face ties it all together nicely.

The ad wraps up by panning away from the choir to reveal a television frame.  The ad gets your attention and keeps it by being clever.  Click here to see the commercial.

Don't Put These Baseball Cards in Your Spokes
Since the 1950s, Topps has sold baseball trading cards filled with photos and stats, bringing the game to life. Now the company is bringing its cards to life.


A fanciful depiction of a 3-D image of Ryan Howard of the Phillies from a Topps 3D Live card.

Now, collectors who hold special Topps 3D Live baseball cards in front of their webcams will see three-dimensional avatars of the players on their computer screens. Rotate the cards, and the figures rotate in full 3D perspective. It's called "augmented reality," a combination of a real image with a virtual one. (I've seen automobile magazine ads use this same concept.)

"This is the ‘Beam me up, Scotty' version of a baseball card that will get kids to buy more. We see this baseball season as a redefining moment for us," said Steve Grimes, chief digital officer at Topps.

Topps needs to augment reality because baseball cards are struggling in the Internet age. Today's collectors can just as easily and less expensively find the sports facts they want online. While once a $1 billion business, the market for sports trading cards has shrunk to $200 million in yearly revenue today.

(Hint: You have to look at her feet to get this one.)

 


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