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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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May 2009 - Posts

Ads That Caught My Eye

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.

What it Means to be "Done"

Thanks to AdRants for this. Nate De Leon and Jane Ackerson entered a contest called "Optimus One Shot" which asked them to "Write a script that shows what it feels like to be ‘done'." The contest was open to creatives in Chicago with five or fewer years experience, and De Leon and Ackerson were the big winners. Their prize? Chicago edit house and production company Optimus brought their ad to life. Click here or on the photo above. It's clever, entertaining and visually provides several definitions of what it means to be "done."

Chia Obama
How best to commemorate the trendiest American icon today? With another American icon: the Chia pet.

According to the Web site, "Your Chia Obama is a symbol of liberty. Opportunity. Prosperity. Hope." Snap yours up at chiaobama.com or at select fine retailers in the Midwest.

Ads That Caught My Eye
Here are a few recent ads that I thought were worth pointing out.

The Global Coalition for Peace wraps its convictions around telephone poles and street lamps with "What Goes Around Comes Around." Each piece features soldiers whose weapons stretch so far around the medium that the barrels ultimately aim back at the bearers. "Stop the Iraq War," the prints proclaim.

This magazine ad for MaxShop.com leads you to believe that as the shopping site is loading, you see a naked model being dressed in Max clothes. I did the research for you and found that not to be true. She's already dressed.

An attention-getting way to illustrate the power of a Rowenta vacuum.

This is an in-store counter ad for Che' magazine (men's mag). It's not a new type of POP ad but it's pretty creative, none-the-less.

This European magazine ad for Dulcolax laxative is rather subtle and some people in our office just didn't get it. If you understand the humor without having to ask someone to explain it to you, you'll likely find it to be funny. But don't feel embarrassed about asking. As I said, it's subtle.


Speaking of subtle, you might appreciate the delicacy of this ad, done by a Brazilian ad agency, for a lubricating gel (K-Y equivalent) targeting the French market. They were trying to come up with an ad that is not offensive or tasteless. The picture looks completely innocent until you notice the details. Apparently, it has created quite a buzz in Europe.

Rock-inspired Muppet Parodies
Here is the Miss Piggy parody of Janet Jackson's cover for "Janet."

I'm both disturbed and entertained.

I'm Still Going to Eat Cheerios

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.

This is Creepy ... even to a Mannequin American

The Puppet Show, a new artistic project by photographers Winkler+Noah, includes 30 portraits of children from two to eight years old, transformed into mannequins by "subtle" retouching. Each print is available in a limited edition; signed, numbered and embossed. They also offer a hardback bound, 80 page book limited to 500 editions. Click here for more photos and info.  


I'm Still Going to Eat Cheerios

Apparently, when you say that your breakfast cereal is "clinically proven to lower cholesterol," the FDA takes an interest ... after a decade or so.

The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog writes about the FDA's warning letter to General Mills in regards to the packaging and advertising of Cheerios. A claim that your food can mitigate or prevent disease is enough to put your product on shaky legal ground, it turns out.

The company fired back with a statement (General Mills "lookSleep forward" to "discussing" the matter with the FDA) but makes what appears to be a solid point overall: It's got science to back up its very specific claim.

Here's what gripes me. The FDA goes after the claims of a highly popular cereal which the manufacturer says is backed by scientific proof ... and in the process the FDA damages that company's image and probably product sales. But the government allows products labeled "natural supplements" to make any outlandish claims about weight loss, sexual enhancement, depression relief, wrinkle removal, third arm growth, etc. without having to be backed by any type of legitimacy. And those bogus products are generally aimed specifically at, and take advantage of, people with real problems. But for some reason, that's okay.

Yeah, by all means let's go after Cheerios and leave Enzyte and Hydroxytone alone.

Employees Wear Only Body Paint for Ad

It's always interesting to see how other countries market things in ways that would probably raise the ire of pocketed groups in the U.S., and thus never be considered.

AIR New Zealand is running a commercial where airline crew members carry out their duties wearing nothing more than body paint.  Click here or on the photo to see it. In the TV commercial passengers are shown smiling knowingly and looking shocked at the body-painted staff, while a song appropriately titled "Under my skin," plays.

More than 90 Air New Zealand staff members are featured in the cheeky campaign, with 8 donning only body paint. Chief Executive Rob Fyfe also took part in the ad, (he's one of those loading luggage) and was crowned New Zealand's sexiest businessman as a result.

"I do love a man in uniform," one female passenger says to her companion as two body-painted crew members walk past. Body-painted "naughty parts" are blocked by beverage carts, luggage and camera angles, but the shocked and surprised look on the passengers' faces says it all.

Cute and harmless, but too much for U.S. audiences who too often play the "I'm offended" card and force advertisers to pull good ads.

I Think I'm in Love
A fellow-Harley rider sent Dale a photo of an interesting custom chopper. He thought I'd appreciate it because the design incorporates a "mannequin." He was right. I was very interested. But because Ms. Mannequin is not fully clothed and in a rather compromising position, I didn't think it would be appropriate to include the photo for all to see. For those who would like to view the chopper and possibly my future bride,
click here.

Bank Ad Campaign

Colorado's 1stBank made a contemporary statement above Coors Field recently with a small plane towing a huge sign that reads: "This is the closest thing we have to a private jet." If they really want to generate some buzz maybe they should shower Coors Field with money.

The same bank is using billboards to promote small businesses ... owned by 1stBank customers. Clever. Good customer PR. And a good promotion for getting more small business customers.

Poignant and Effective Ads by Non-profit
The French Alzheimer's Association
delivers a potent message in these frames. The text reads: "In France, 1 million people can't get hold of their memories." The photos are literally boarded up in various ways-people, places and experiences now inaccessible. The "walling off" visuals are powerfully ugly, adding to the mood of disorientation and malaise.

If your family has ever been touched by this malicious disease, you know that the most chilling and ironic of all is the mere presence of picture frames. They serve as sad reminders that something was there-something that held special significance and meaning but is now beyond reach. Via Ads of the World 

Attention-Getting Auto Sunscreen Ads

Twin Hi-Way Drive-In in Robinson Township, Pa., creatively uses car-windshield sunscreens as an ad medium. Putting ads on sunscreens isn't a new concept, but this implementation is pretty cool. The life-size images of folks watching different types of movies were created for about $700 in production.

Movie-marquee-style copy invites patrons to "Take your emotions for a ride tonight." I like the dude laughing so hard he spits his drink all over the windshield.

Error on Last Friday's Blog
On my previous blog I mentioned the new Star Trek movie and then stupidly posted a photo of a poster advertising the Star Wars ride at Disney.  This proves two things: 1. I have a life so Star Wars and Star Trek are pretty much the same thing to me. 2. Even a Mannequin American can mess up some times.

Thanks for the many humorous emails pointing out my error.  Not one rude or obnoxious one in the bunch ... proving that I have nice readers with solid senses of humor.

And for the record, Lauren Brown was the first to point out the error.     

First Lady Likes 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.

Take Note ... The First Lady Likes Puppets

While addressing a crowd at the United Nations First Lady Michelle Obama announced that she had just visited Sesame Street. "I'm thrilled to be here, but I was just at 'Sesame Street' with Elmo and Big Bird and I was thrilled. I'm still thrilled. I'm on a high!"

The First Lady visited the set of Sesame Street to record a public service announcement for Sesame Workshop's "Healthy Habits for Life" initiative. Look for the PSA to begin airing soon.

Pop! Pop! Fizz Fizz! Tax! Tax!
How do you feel about sin taxes? They seem to be propagating at an alarming speed in the present economic climate, since they're one of the only ways to raise taxes without provoking a general public backlash.

Thus, the Senate is taking aim at Big Soda, proposing a three-cent tax on sodas as well as other sugary drinks, including energy and sports drinks like Gatorade. Diet sodas would be exempt.

The proposal is far from a done deal at this stage, but its proponents make a powerful case, claiming it could bring in $24 billion and improve the level of overall national health. Ironically the tax would hit the country's poor the hardest. But I guess the government is trying to force them to eat healthier. Because that's the government's job ... oh, wait. No it's not.

Creative Posters Help Sell New Movie
I haven't seen the new Star Trek movie yet, but the
posters are pretty cool.

This one was placed inside an airport. See more of them
here. They're all pretty clever.

What Ads Say and What We Think They Say Can be Two Different Things

Below is an ad from an actual Web site.

Here's the ad the way I interpreted the ad.

Even if she was getting paid a modeling fee, I feel bad that she had to have her picture taken with that guy.

Clever Guerilla Marketing Vehicle

A plastic surgery clinic found a clever way to use paper cups as marketing tools.

Ballet is Sexy
A couple of my co-workers enjoy going to the ballet. But ballet seldom includes any roles for Mannequin Americans, so I boycott it.

But lately I've noticed that ballet marketing is getting sexy. In fact, publicity images for ballet companies are embracing eroticism with some ingenuity in hopes of attracting larger audiences. A brochure announcing San Francisco Ballet's season featured a female dancer in a saucer tutu and bare legs enjoying the lustful caresses of a male dancer in the back seat of a convertible. Another ballet campaign plastered a tasteful black-and-white photograph of a nude male torso, on bus shelters.

But the ads below for the Bay Area Ballet really caught my eye.  Sensual, artistic and striking. Plus they make you wonder how the photographer was able to take two different photos of the same person and match them so perfectly. More examples of the series here.

Not New Marketing ... New Melons
This bit of news is from our good friend Mark Mosio. Japan introduced heart-shaped Japanese melons, which hit the market just in time for Mother's Day. Price per melon (converted to US dollars): roughly $160.

Japan introduced square Japanese melons in 2001. To create these freaks of nature farmers grow the melons in glass boxes and the fruit then naturally assumes the same shape. Today the cuboid watermelons are hand-picked and shipped all over Japan. They cost 3 to 4 times more than a regular shaped melon.

Lawsuit in Aisle 5

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.

Lawsuit Frenzy in Paper Products' Aisle

Who knew that those little quilts on paper towels and toilet paper are a very big deal in federal courts?

Procter & Gamble Co. filed suit against Georgia-Pacific alleging bow-tie patterns in new-and-improved Brawny paper towels infringe the trademark bow-tie shapes in the quilts of P&G's Bounty Extra Soft. The lawsuit claims that Brawny's "Great New Look" is "an obvious attempt to trade in on the goodwill, reputation and commercial success of Bounty Extra Soft." (Everyone who was aware that Brawny has bow-tie patterns, raise your hand. No one? I thought so.)

This is the latest in a series of lawsuits among the paper powers. In March G-P sued P&G alleging false advertising by Bounty. P&G settled, agreeing to modify claims. That suit alleged that while the quilts may have been thicker on improved Bounty, the towels weren't. (You may have to read that sentence again before it makes sense.)

G-P also sued Kimberly-Clark Corp. alleging quilt shapes on Cottonelle Ultra toilet paper infringe on diamond patterns of G-P's Quilted Northern. "To make matters worse, Kimberly-Clark's new packaging ... prominently features a dog snuggled in a quilt with a diamond design," G-P noted in its complaint. (Aren't those little quilt shapes on toilet paper the things that stick to your butt? Who'd want to copy that design?)

G-P also sued P&G in October alleging Charmin infringed its trademark diamond shapes. P&G settled that suit in December, pledging to modify its design.

I wonder who's paying for all of these lawsuits? Oh, yeah. That would be we consumers. Excuse me while I go to Wal-Mart and pick up a roll of generic, non-patterned paper towels which seem to do an adequate job of wiping up spills ... and don't include a hissy-fit excise tax for suing competitors.

Here's What's Wrong With Wikipedia (and maybe the Internet

 I try to never use WIKIPEDIA ... and here's why.

Maurice Jarre, a French composer, died in March. I never heard of him, but apparently he was very famous so the news of his passing was published in newspapers around the world. Many of the obituaries included this well-known quote by Jarre. "One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear."

Here's the problem. Those words were not uttered by the Oscar-winning composer. They were written by 22-year-old Shane Fitzgerald, an undergraduate student at University College Dublin. Mr. Fitzgerald said he placed the quote on Wikipedia as an experiment to show how journalists use the Internet as a primary resource. Fitzgerald posted the quote on Wikipedia late at night after news of Jarre's death broke.  (Note: The quote had no referenced sources and was therefore taken down by moderators of Wikipedia within minutes. However, Fitzgerald put it back a few more times until it was finally left up on the site for more than 24 hours.)

Fitzgerald was shocked by the result of his experiment. "I didn't expect it to go that far. I expected it to be in blogs, but not in mainstream quality papers," he said. The hoax remained undiscovered for weeks until Fitzgerald e-mailed offending newspapers to tell them that they had published an inaccurate quote.

While many media outlets corrected their original stories, today the quote remains intact on many blogs, Web sites and newspapers ... and undoubtedly will remain so for years to come ... perpetuating the falsehood.

We get most of our information from the Internet these days. But often the information isn't accurate and no one is accountable for the errors, hoaxes and falsehoods. (For all you know, I just made this whole story up.) I have no answers. I'm just frightened by the dangers.

Who Would Play This Game?

Playboy has granted a license for a massive multi-player online (MMO) game in which you are the manager for an upcoming playboy model. (If you know anyone who would purchase this game you may be sleazy-by-association.)

According to the developer players take the roles of crack talent agents managing the careers of some of Playboy's hottest up-and-coming models. From the press release, "Combining the best elements of trading card and turn-based gaming, Playboy Manager is the only online game to feature exclusive content from Playboy, including videos and photos of breathtaking Playboy models." (Wait a minute, my computer screen just fogged up.)

There are a lot of jokes here, but if I go any farther it's going to get me in trouble. A release date has not yet been announced for the game. 

Every Type of Business is Being Forced to Market

Because of the downturn in the economy in Germany, brothels are running promotions that offer discounts including all you can eat, drink and whatever specials for one all inclusive fee... which can be as low as 70 Euros for an all day pass good from 10 am to 4 pm. (Seems like a little overkill considering most patrons probably only make use of 3 to 10 minutes.)

They're also offering discounts for seniors, (I should book a Lufthansa flight for Dale) taxi drivers and golfers.  And they're introducing loyalty cards and a few other things that I've decided not to include on this blog.

As Stephanie Klee, a prostitute in Berlin said, "Even if a few luxury brothels were weathering the storm because of their wealthy regular clientele, many were struggling. Just about everyone's turning to advertising in one form or another. If the consumer electronics shop and the optician come out with rebates and special promotions, why shouldn't we try the same thing?"

No word on how marketing firms are positioning themselves to "serve" this niche market.

Beaker Wins a Webby Award

Beaker's original YouTube video "Ode to Joy" has won a Webby Award ... the "People's Voice" award, to be exact ... for best music video.

Muppet fans braved inclement weather, mudslides, and swarms of locusts to make it to their computers and vote for Beaker.

As of this writing, Beaker's video has received over 5 million views on YouTube. That's a lot of people watching Beaker butcher Beethoven. Click here to view the 1.5 minute video "Ode to Joy". It's amusing.

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