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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April 2009 - Posts

Effective Newspaper Ads

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.

Spring is Here
No place appreciates the arrival of spring more than the Heartland where we've been under Mother Nature's cold, windy thumb since last November. And here in WI spring is often trumpeted in with the roar of Harley Davidson motorcycles that have been released from the bonds of winter storage.

Although Harley was among the first to be affected by tough economic times, the company is taking control of its future by aggressively touting its new products through multiple marketing campaigns.

These two ads recently caught my attention because they get to the heart of what makes owning a Harley so special.


A lot of people dream of owning a Harley.  The mystique, the camaraderie, the freedom and the thrill are all there ... along with the well worn "biker" image. 

Dale occasionally stuffs me into one of his saddle bags when he takes a ride through the scenic Kettle Moraine of WI. (He won't strap me on the back until I get a helmet.) We make one or two stops at biker gathering places where there are no strangers ... just fellow riders.  Dale says that it's still a rush to be a part of this very special group of people who pay absolutely no mind to what a person does for a living, or what they own or don't own. When they're on their Harley's they're all comrades with whom there is a special bond. Judgment, prejudice and differences are nearly non-existent within this group.  No wonder so many people want to be part of it.

Harley's challenge is to successfully market to a younger audience. And with two AMA Pro race wins under its belt this year, the company's Buell division may be the conduit to that goal.            

If You Want to See Us Perform, but Are too Cheap to Buy a Ticket ...

I frequently receive emails asking "Where can I see you perform?"  My answer is, "Well, I know it's a lot of work, but you could go to YouTube.com to watch one of Dale's videos which has been viewed almost 100,000 times."  But to be honest, that particular clip doesn't include me ... so why watch it?

It's easier to just click here or on the photo to see our promo video that includes a variety of clips ... including some corporate programs.  You'll notice that Dale has aged while I look better than ever. 

But honestly, the best way to see us "live" is to hire Dale as a keynote speaker for your convention or ask us to perform at your:

  • Chamber of Commerce dinner
  • Service club banquet
  • Employee meeting
  • Distributor event
  • Club holiday party
  • Association awards dinner
  • Or similar occasion.

Click here to go to our Web site for more information.

There's Still Such a Thing as Effective Newspaper Advertising
STIHL Inc. recently kicked off a national ad campaign in The Wall Street Journal promoting its chainsaws and handheld outdoor power equipment.  STIHL is the number one selling brand of chain saws worldwide.

Most of the ads are large full-page layouts, and shrinking them down to fit in this blog wouldn't do them justice. However the ad that follows will give you an idea of how the company is taking advantage of the newspaper format to depict its products cutting, trimming and blowing away news articles.

The headline of my favorite full page STIHL ad is:

OF THE 40,000 ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT LOWE'S® AND THE HOME DEPOT,®
THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM

Then the ad simply shows picture of a STIHL chainsaw with a short paragraph of copy. Bold. And in my opinion it's very effective at promoting the company's exclusive dealerships.

Need Help Cleaning Those "Hard to Reach" Places?

I'm including this only because the video on the Web site is so funny ... not intentionally, mind you. To quote the video, "Has taking a shower become a pain?"

Click on the photo or link to see the amazing "Foot Scrubber" and "Body Snake" in action on overweight, out of shape people who should never agree to be photographed in the shower.

Instead of sending the company $24.95 plus $11.95 for shipping and handling, just send me $5 and I'll come over and scrub your back.

A Muppet Moment


What Are They Selling?

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.

When Automated Bathrooms Don't Work

Isn't public bathroom technology great? Automated faucets. Automated soap dispensers. Toilets that flush by themselves. Urinals that flush by themselves. Hand-wave controlled towel dispensers. It's a germaphobe's paradise ... except for when these wonders of technology don't work. Which is what happens in this commercial for Alaska Airlines. I love it when the guy puts his hands under the facet and the urinal flushes. Ha! Funny and a good way to tout the airline's "airport of the future."  Click here or on the photo to see the 30 second spot. Really, it's funny.

Another in Our Series of "What Are They Selling?"

I was going to challenge you to watch this 20 second commercial and correctly guess what it was selling before the ad ended.  Sadly the company has removed it from YouTube. However the photo above, which is from the commercial, should give you an idea of the gist of the ad ... and you wouldn't have correctly guessed what it's selling.

The commercial is/was for Homz, an ultra modern ironing board that "has the contours of the human body." It rotates, which the company claims can cut ironing time in half. The thing has so many features that it's like the iPhone of ironing. I want one! And I'd really like to see the commercial again.

Action/Adventure Puppet Film Preview

While I'd like to say, "This is just wrong," the truth is if you're into puppets, this is pretty darn funny. Jim Hensons Resident Evil 5 (warning: link contains minor puppet-related gore and has nothing to do with Jim Henson) is a clever little puppet video on IGN. I love the parts where the hero puppet uses a handgun with a laser site on it to shoot evil-doers. Expect to see more videos like this featuring puppets from FAO's Schwartz's Muppet Whatnot Workshop. (If you want to purchase your own Muppet-like character, or a puppet for someone else, this is the place to go.)

Coupon Web Sites See 192% Increase

One area where consumers aren't cutting back: coupon usage. Coupons.com reported a 192% increase in the value of coupons printed from its site in March, compared with a year ago. The total value of the coupons was $57 million.

Coupons have been the second-most-visited category on the Internet -- behind jobs -- for about a year. Coupons.com had the biggest share of the category, with 6.6 million unique visitors, up 29% from 5 million the year before. Eversave.com came in second, with 5.5 million unique visitors in February.

Worst LP Covers Ever
Okay, a reader has managed to top our "Trees Talk Too" LP featuring Geraldine and Ricky.

Here is the LP cover for Dan Betzer and Louie ...

and Harry and Terry Live.  By the way, if Harry thinks Terry is "Live" then Harry needs help.  And just how hard can it be to be a ventriloquist on a record?!
 

Thanks for the Good Wishes
Thanks to all of my readers who sent "Get Well" wishes to Dale following his hand surgery earlier this week.  The surgery appears to have gone well and I should be able to turn my head, open my mouth and move my eyes in about three weeks. (Unfortunately, Dale has a hand in everything I do.) But you could give Dale a gift while he's recuperating. Vote for this blog on the "Bloggers Choice" web site. I know it will help make Dale feel better ... and it could help secure my position as "blog writer" for another year. 

As of Wednesday, out of 188 marketing-related blogs, popular vote put the Chip Martin Blog in first place! (I'll pause here to give you a moment to let out a cheer.) ...

But I'm only ahead by two votes. Obviously, I'm going to need more.  Show Dale and the rest of the country that people actually read this blog, by taking a minute to vote. Vote from home, vote from work, vote for your dead uncle and ask your friends and family to vote.

Click here and you will go to the Blogger's Choice '09 Awards web page.  When you're on the site, click on "Best Marketing Blog" on the left-hand menu.  Then scroll to my blog which is listed under bmpr.com/chip_martin 

When you find bmpr.com/chip_martin  (it should be the first one on the list) click on "vote."  You'll have to register ... I know it takes a minute, but that's how the scoring remains legitimate. So please take the minute to register and then vote.

After you vote for me, email me at chip.martin@bmpr.com and as long as our supply lasts, I will send you a free highlighter from Brown & Martin, Inc.  Just think how cool it would be to have a "puppet" defeat those know-it-all marketers at their own game!

Thanks for helping to make Dale feel better.

Billboard of the Month
And finally, a clever phrase that produces a good visual in the minds of readers makes this billboard for a fishing lure by Shores, one my favorites for the month.


Lottery Creates Instant Demand

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 Have to Win a Lottery to Purchase This Car

Tata Motors is going to auction its first 100,000 Nano automobiles in India to customers chosen by lottery at a retail price that starts at about $2,000.

The thing looks like a Pinewood Derby body stuck on a lawnmower. And it seems sized to fit four Mannequin American-sized bodies. But never mind all that ... it's cheap, it gets 55 miles to the gallon, it can travel about that far in an hour and it could change the automotive retailing landscape worldwide.

A small car made out of what might be no more than aluminum foil, mass-produced and sold for the cost of a really nice desktop computer, means that lots of people could buy it. So don't think about it as a second or third car...but rather just another car that could prove useful. Suddenly, the debate isn't about replacement, but simply an alternative to driving one of those larger, gas-guzzling SUVs in the 5-car garage.

It's very possible that the way to move the conversation about conservation significantly forward is to stop trying to have our proverbial cake, and eating it too. The Nano could get into enough hands to be a default choice when travel doesn't require great speed, style, or comfort.

Plus the lottery idea will create instant demand. Brilliant marketing!

On the other hand small cars do have their disadvantages.

Here's a 2009 Toyota Yaris after the Insurance Institute's 40-mph frontal offset crash. Ouch! Hey! I think that's my cousin behind the wheel!

This May be More Your Style 
Talk about a car Batman would drive!! Spain's just released Tramontana R-edition. It may not look like a real vehicle, but it is.

Not only does it have the design and aesthetics of a vehicle not of this earth (lots of carbon fiber), but it combines aeronautical technology with a Formula 1 Race car. It features 720 Hp and goes from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds! In a limited edition of 12 and costing a cool half million dollars, you may want to rush right out and get one. More info and photos here.

From Cars to Lighted Unlighted Roads
From JS Online, and our buddy Gene Mueller at WTMJ:  Accent lights don't just beautify homes. Apparently they make freeways more pleasant, as well. That's the thinking behind the LED lights recently turned on in the Marquette Interchange. The accents glow on six large concrete supports and the wall in the "canyon ramp," which connects eastbound I-94 to northbound I-43 here in Milwaukee.


The decorative lighting cost about $815,000. Computer operated, the 65 lights cast a changing palette of colors from sunset to sunrise. (That's $12,538 for each light!)

At the same time, nearly four out of every 10 streetlights along I-794 and the Lake Parkway are burned out, leaving motorists to drive without the guidance of that familiar orange glow spilling down from above as they cruise the expressway late at night.

The patches of darkness aren't unique to I-794 and the parkway. Years of shrunken state budgets have left little cash for replacing the tall lights that line highways and interstates, the JS Public Investigator Team found.

Some of the most traveled stretches of road in Milwaukee County are dark. Consider:

  • 23% of lights are burned out along I-94 between I-794 and state Highway 100.
  • 21% of lights along U.S. Highway 45 from I-94 to Good Hope Road are dark.
  • 19% of lights on I-43 throughout the county are out.

Public Investigator tallied the outages - about 550 lights - using maps and figures collected by the state in its weekly "lamp patrol." That's when a worker counts the number of burned-out lights along the highway as a way to prioritize maintenance.

Maybe they should spend less time "counting" and more time "fixing." Just a thought.

Not a Real Ad ... But Real Funny
This BMW ad says, "Why burn your fuel when you can burn someone else's?"

"New Magnetic Tow Technology allows you to turn off your engine and let the vehicle in front pull you along without losing any maneuverability." The mock ad suggests that when you turn off MTT, you give a courteous flick of your lights to thank the other driver.

There's a Reason to Vote for This Blog

As of yesterday this bog ranked 2nd in the Blogger's Choice '09 Awards voting in the Marketing category ... only 6 votes behind the leader. I know that the majority of my readers subscribe to this blog from work and may have difficulty voting from their employers' computers. But I need your votes! So just forward this to your home email and vote from there. Please ...

Click here and you will go to the Blogger's Choice '09 Awards Web page.  When you're on the site, click on "Best Marketing Blog" on the left-hand menu.  Then scroll to my blog which is listed under bmpr.com/chip_martin 

Blogs are ranked by the number of votes they have. I'm on the 1st page today.  When you find bmpr.com/chip_martin click on "vote."  You'll have to register ... I know it takes a minute, but that's how the scoring remains legitimate. So please take the minute to register and then vote. I know this is a hassle. So please read the next paragraph.

After you vote for me, email me at chip.martin@bmpr.com and as long as our supply lasts, I will send you a free highlighter from Brown & Martin, Inc.  Just think how cool it would be to have a "puppet" defeat those know-it-all marketers at their own game!


Can You Market Via the Internet?

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.

Can advertising succeed on the internet?
Eric Clemons recently created a lot of buzz with an article entitled, "Why Advertising is Failing on the Internet." Among the most salient of Clemons' arguments:

  • Pushing a message at a potential consumer when it has not been requested, and the consumer is in the middle of doing something else online, is a losing strategy.
  • The above is especially true if the consumer knows that the maker of the message has paid to get the message across and that no one is verifying the claims.
  • Consumers still need and crave information before making a purchase, but they have other, more reliable means aside from advertising to do that.
  • Even the best targeting doesn't address the fact that many consumers simply do not trust advertising.

It's easy to find opposing views on every subject on the Internet ... but who knows how true those views are? In the end advertising may turn out to be more trustworthy because at least you know someone is accountable for claims in advertising. You can't say the same for Wikipedia, product reviews, blogs, tweets, videos, etc. which often quote a quote of a quote without ever knowing the real source.

Plus, let's say you're a hardcore runner and you're reading a blog about marathon running. Chances are good that you'd be interested in an ad for a new high-performance running shoe.  That's not intrusive. It's targeted.

Banners, viral video, social networking, email marketing and company Web sites all make the prospect of getting your message across over the Internet a daunting undertaking. But marketers are gaining on the task and in the end buyers will be accustomed to and persuaded by marketing on the Internet.

Even I do it. Click here.

I Encourage You to Watch This

I'm typically not an emotional-type Mannequin American. Some have even accused me of having a "wooden heart." However, I can say without embarrassment that when I watched this clip from Britain's Got Talent, it actually brought a tear to my eye.

In this shallow world that habitually and wrongly places so much emphasis on "looks," we get an occasional reminder that talent still matters. In this instance the talent is named "Susan Boyle," and as of yesterday this clip had more than 13 million hits on YouTube ... in a day.  I highly recommend that you add yourself to that number by clicking here. Be patient and watch the whole thing. You won't be disappointed.

Need to Shave Daily Diminishes

Hundreds of thousands of layoffs monthly are reducing the number of men who feel the need to shave daily. That would seem to be bad news for makers of shaving products. But not for Norelco, which also makes products for grooming beards and stubble. Note: I have highlighted Norelco's BodyGroom Web site before. It's new Manalogus are very funny and worth watching. My favorite is "The dreaded call." Go there by clicking here and then be prepared to laugh out loud. And also note that the on-going success and accolades for the site are proof that even when your web site is considered the best in you industry, you still have to keep changing it if you want to stay on top.

Sales of electric groomers grew 3% in 2008. Norelco benefited disproportionately, with a 24% lift in sales of grooming products last year ... thanks in large part to its humorous Web site.

This is a bitter pill to swallow for the wet-shave crowd, led by Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette, which has been pointing out in ads lately that its Fusion blades cost only $1 a week.

But the recession beard could actually mark the peak of a decade-long trend of looking "scruffy" to be followed inevitably by a shift toward clean-shaven faces down the road.

I'm Just the Reporter

As I searched for additional articles relating to the grooming data above, I ran across a Schick Quattro for Women commercial. Click here to see the ad on the company's Web site. Before we go any farther, please remember, I'm only the "reporter." I didn't produce the commercial.

While commercials often use obtuse metaphors and bizarre analogies in the hopes of selling otherwise boring products, this one doesn't beat around the bush. I have to say that even a Mannequin American can quickly grasp the point Schick is making. I'm just surprised they had the nerve to make it.


And they made it even more entertaining in the U.K. version of the TV commcercial which you can see here.  

I Learned a New Word on South Park

Loosely tying to the post above, whoever said watching TV can't be educational was wrong.

Again, I'm just a Mannequin American, but I thought I was a well-informed Mannequin American. Turns out, I'm not. I'm more of an ill-informed "guy" Mannequin American. I learned that fact by watching a recent episode of South Park.  I also learned a new word ... "queef." To be honest, I'd rather not have learned that word even existed. But South Park spent an entire episode defining and defending the word and the action. All I can say is, "I'll never be the same." Click here to see a streaming video of the episode via the Comedy Central Web site.  (Note: After you click on the link the Comedy Central Page will say that the episode is not yet available. But wait 10 seconds and the message will change and allow you to click on a link to watch the show.) Not office friendly. In fact, it's not friendly at all ... but 51% of people claim it's funny. In fact, two of B&M's staff members had tears in their eyes, they were laughing so hard. As for me ... I'm going to therapy.

Too Many Words Can Mess Up a Good Visual
Travelers understand and appreciate the print ad below, and immediately grasp the value of the product. No need to mess things up with an explanation.

If 10% of My Readers Vote ... I Think I'll Win! 

Come on ... vote for my blog and help a Mannequin American beat out those ad supported blogs written by people who actually know something about marketing.  If 30 more readers vote for this blog, I'll be in 1st place. Consider this your subscription price.

 Click here and you will go to the Blogger's Choice '09 Awards web page.  When you're on the site, click on "Best Marketing Blog" on the left-hand menu.  Then scroll to my blog which is listed under bmpr.com/chip_martin 

Blogs are ranked by the number of votes they have. I was on the 1st page today.  When you find bmpr.com/chip_martin  click on "vote."  You'll have to register and give your email address ... I know it takes a minute, but that's how the scoring remains legitimate. So please take the minute to register and then vote.  I know this is a hassle. So see the next paragraph.

After you vote for me, email me at chip.martin@bmpr.com and as long as our supply lasts, I will send you a free highlighter from Brown & Martin, Inc.  (I promised Tim Kaker a beer for his vote ... but that was an exception.) Just think how cool it would be to have a "puppet" defeat those know-it-all marketers at their own game!


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