2010, 2011 PRSA WI Paragon Award of Excellence

About this blog

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

Email Updates


September 2009 - Posts

Facebook Not Yet for B2B

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American

Facebook Not Yet for B2B

While Facebook is popular and has proven to be a good resource for enabling individuals to tap their networks for worthy charitable giving and good works, it has yet to demonstrate itself as a strong marketing vehicle with good ROI.

I am a fan/friend of a few consumer brands on Facebook. But the Facebook brand sites are really not useful and I get nothing out of being a fan/friend other than occasional lame messages. Obviously those companies should be creating inclusive, engaging content and alerting me to special deals; but they're not. It would be even harder for B2B organizations to successfully and profitably navigate that course.

I do appreciate the fact that I can receive ads related to car products or painting products after I make a post about racing or painting. It beats getting ads about dog food ... (I don't particularly like dogs ... I used to be a tree.)  Relevant, targeted advertising is a good thing. But Facebook still has "who owns the data" issues, so targeted Facebook ads are not yet ready for B2B.

A few B2B companies are in the Facebook playground, but they tend to just "be there". No investment, no return.

So to date, Facebook has yet to prove its value as a B2B marketing venue. But I did find a long lost relative of mine on Facebook. At least part of him ... the part that's a skateboard in Rolling Hills, IL.  But even he's a consumer product ... not relevant for B2B.

"Pornographic" Candy Wrappers
A father-of-two has made public his disgust after spotting fruity cartoon characters appearing to have sex on candy wrappers. And he may be right.

Simon Simpkins was buying Haribo MAOAM sour candies for his children when he noticed the "pornographic" illustrations of limes, lemons and cherries "romping" with each other. Mr Simpkins, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, said, "The lemon and lime are locked in what appears to be a carnal encounter."

I have to agree that the lime has a particularly lurid expression on its face during its encounter with the lemon.

The Lime enjoys a similarly smutty experience with a willing pair of cherries.

A spokesman for Haribo said the "fun" packaging of the sweets was introduced in Germany in 2002 and added, "The jovial MAOAM man is very popular with fans, both young and old." The company spokesperson said that the image was not meant to be "sexual."

Really? I must be getting jaded. Hopefully kids wouldn't notice; but you can't make me believe that the creators of these images didn't know what they'd look like to most adults. What do you think?

The Basics of
Second in a series by guest contributor, Leslie Bonk, APR

Twitter Backgrounds
Twitter allows you to choose from several backgrounds so you can customize your page. However, truly savvy tweeters create their own backgrounds.  Check out www.twitter.com/brownandmartin and www.twitter.com/moxxy333.

If you'd like your own Twitter background, tweet me and we will discuss offline.

TV Takes a Giant Step Backwards

Dale is old enough to remember when TV programs like Burns and Allen and many others worked commercials into the shows.  Harry VonZell would stop at George and Gracie's house for a visit and pretty soon they'd be talking about Carnation Evaporated Milk. Shows weren't interrupted for commercials. The commercials were built into the shows. It was an accepted practice and sometimes entertaining.

Now, ABC's Desperate Housewives is creating an integrated ad campaign that will tie in with the feel and drama of the program. A series of eight commercials for Sprint will unfold as a weekly soap opera. Why would a TV show take this marketing leap backwards, you ask? To thwart the fast-forward phenomenon, is the answer. When commercials are linked within the show, viewers are not given as much of an opportunity to channel surf.

When a 30-second commercial comes along and it looks and feels just like the actual show, the hope is that viewers will refrain from fast-forwarding ... channel surfing ... getting a beer ... reading my blog ... Hey! Wait a minute ...

It'll be interesting to see if it works. As Dale remembers it, George Burns would sometimes look at the camera and give viewers a comedic heads up by saying, "Here comes the commercial."

Speaking of Old TV

Isn't the guy in this print ad for Thermodor, from the Dick Van Dyke show?

Regardless, this "Stacked for Convenience" ad is proof that double entendre, sexism, poor taste and large bosoms were alive and well in 70's advertising ... just as they are today!  


Three Ways to Improve Your Web Site

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American

3 Ways to Improve Your Web Site
There are a lot of ways to differentiate your company's Web site. No matter what else you do, it's absolutely essential to make sure your site is perceived as an authoritative Web site. Here's how.

  1. In many ways, it's how unique your content is that sets you apart. That means you must give away good original information that your targeted audience will appreciate and use. Your content should demonstrate your expertise, compared to Web sites that claim expertise
  2. Educational, tutorial-style content works online. It attracts links, it brings traffic, it builds trust, and it helps you to rank higher for relevant keyword-phrases in search engines. And all the while, you'll be decreasing sales resistance.
  3. What other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself. Perceived authority can outrank actual authority. So work hard to get others to link to your site. Search engines compute that as being "authoritative."

The key is to create a resource versus a site that simply talks about how great your company is. B&M helps companies improve their Web sites' search engine rankings and value to customers. So if your Web site's not performing ... or you don't know if it's performing ... email me at chip.martin@bmpr.com and I or someone from here will gladly answer your questions.

The Basics of
First of series by guest contributor, Leslie Bonk, APR

How to Join the Twitter Conversation

The best way to join the conversation is to create a Twitter account, find people to follow and just listen to what those people are saying.

Here's how to create an account. Go to http://www.twitter.com/ and click on the Sign Up Now green button.  Enter your real full name and then the name you want to use on Twitter. Think about that username.  If you are tweeting for a company, I would use the company name. If you are tweeting for yourself, use your name or some variation.  A lot of names are already taken, so you may need to use a middle initial or something like dalebrownvent. You don't have to sign up to determine whether your name is available, Twitter checks that for you during the signup process. (Many folks who are not tweeting are grabbing their names, just in case.)

Twitter names can consist of letters, numbers, and underscores. Avoid underscores. They are very difficult to find on a phone.

Now you can enter your password and email address and the security words.  Then Twitter will suggest some people you may want to follow. It'll be quite a few, so don't just push accept or your inbox will be inundated.

Listening is crucial...you need to understand what people are tweeting about and why. Then you can decide if you have something to add to the conversation.  Don't be too self-promotional. I see a lot of tweets like that and they don't work.  

Should you join the conversation? That depends. I find it helpful because I get tips on many great articles related to marketing and social media. It relates to my job.  At the same time, if you have a hobby or interest, you will find folks out there who have the same interests and you may want to connect with them. And if you like to live vicariously through others, you'll find a range of celebrities to follow. For me, it's Tyler Florence and Emeril. One word of caution, every tweet is a public tweet unless you use the direct message button.  You can only direct message folks that are following you.  Many people think that if you use the "@" plus a twitter name, it only goes to that person.  That's incorrect. It goes to that person and everyone following you.

Follow me www.twitter.com/moxxy333

What You See May Say a Lot About You

This photo isn't what some of you may have thought it was at first glance. I'll wait while you get your mind out of the gutter and around this creative ad for Samantha Cracked Heel Lotion. "Sexy Heels."  Pretty clever photo. It wouldn't work for a Mannequin American though. We don't have backs with cracks.

Here's the Real Thing

This Nike ad via Kiss My Black Ads (what a great blog name!) demonstrates Nike's continued superiority when it comes to marketing. The copy is small in the ad above, so I'll repeat it below.

My Butt is Big and round like the letter C and ten thousand lunges have made it rounder but not smaller and that's just fine. It's a space heater for my side of the bed - It's my ambassador to those who walk behind me - It's a border collie that herds skinny women away from the best deals at clothing sales. My butt is big and that's just fine and those who might scorn it are invited to kiss it. Just do it. Nikewomen.com

Embolden and witty versus discourteous and offensive. Difficult to achieve and highly effective.

Another Look "Behind" You
The photo below of a Chanel billboard and its onlookers was taken in Berlin by
Stefano Corso. You have to admit that it's attention-getting. On the other hand you could probably slap almost any product or company name on it and get the same result.

Good Association Web Site
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has a new site, Cheese & Burger Society. It's one of the best association sites that I've seen lately. It uses a rolodex format to walk you through an index of delicious looking burgers all adorned with Wisconsin cheese. It's fun to play with ... but you'll probably make yourself hungry.

Patrick Walburton of Seinfeld, Rules of Engagement and the voice of some Disney characters, explains each item in his own unique way. It's clever and worth a look, especially if you're looking for recipes with cheese. 

The site also takes names and addresses in return for a chance to win a stainless steel grill.  But don't enter because I'm trying to win it.

When the Bidet Hits the Fan

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American

Sign Says "Open" not "Welcome" ... Act Accordingly

I'm not a restaurant critic, nor do I play one on TV. My only experience with restaurants is that I eat and drink in them. My favorite hangouts tend to be simple versus refined; friendly versus snobbish and; fun versus having to pay attention to what you say and how loud you get. In short, I'm out for a good time.

Recently I stumbled on a gem in Milwaukee, Barnacle Bud's. It was voted "Best restaurant in the middle of nowhere," by Shepherd Express.  I don't know the owner and I'm not getting anything for plugging the place ... and it may not be your cup of tea. But I've had fun every time Dale has taken me there.  And getting there is part of the enjoyment.

Barnacle Bud's doesn't have a "Location" button on its Web site. It has a "Where the hell are you?" button, and for good reason. When our GPS announced that we had arrived, we were staring at really old warehouses with signs telling us to "Keep Out" and "Guard Dogs on Duty." If it hadn't been for my urging Dale to proceed he never would have driven over the railroad tracks back into an area that looked like a suitable place for disposing of a body. But it's back there ... right on the water ... because when you think of "Milwaukee" you think of "seafood."

Barnacle Bud's has outdoor seating, an outdoor bar and a raw bar. Boats easily dock right next to the place. But I'll be honest. The indoor facility is not a fancy establishment which is what gives it character.  I'll not bore you with any other details. Just go to the Web site and you'll immediately understand why I'm attracted to the restaurant.

But the success of the place got me to wondering how a restaurant that's out of the way and rather "rustic" can succeed while so many others don't. Again, I know nothing about marketing a restaurant, but that won't stop me from giving you "Chip's Guesses at Successful Restaurant Marketing."

  • Give them something they'll want to take home. Send folks out of your restaurant with a unique doggy bag, swizzle stick, T-shirt ... anything that will help remind them to tell other people about you. At Barnacle Bud's a lot of people take a menu home. The menus are printed on cheap, brightly colored paper and they do more than inform patrons about food selections. They also entertain with edgy copy, funny quotes and creative names for entrées. You read it, you laugh at it and you take it with you so that you can share it with others.
  • Make your walls entertaining. Put things on the wall that will encourage customers to bring their friends in to see them. Signs on the walls of Barnacle Bud's are sheer entertainment ... and many of them are on chalkboards so they change periodically. Some restaurants put photos of customers on the walls or encourage patrons to use personalized mugs that hang on the walls. It all adds to camaraderie and loyalty. 
  • Host special events/Create a holiday. Posters announce made up holiday celebrations and all sorts of special events at Barnacle Buds including crawfish boils.
  • Offer a "secret" special. Offer a dish or special drink that only insiders know about. It makes them feel special and gives them something to share with their friends. Kahuna's did this and so does Barnacle Bud's.
  • Make your Web site entertaining and offer visitors benefits for signing up for announcements. The Web site should do more than inform; it should entertain and be "inviting." And it should make visitors want to sign up for emails from the restaurant. Barnacle Bud's does all of this and more.

Now you know as much about marketing a restaurant as I do ... which is not much.

When the Bidet Hits the Fan

This from our friend Gene Mueller at 620 WTMJ. The average American uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day; collectively, we burn through 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper each year. Eliminating all the TP in America would save 15 million trees, 17.3 terawatts of electricity, and more than 473 billion gallons of water annually. Enter a marketing opportunity.

To save the day by making it "greener" the Japanese porcelain concern Toto will start a U.S. marketing push for its line of bidets--the pitch being that they can dramatically cut/eliminate the use of toilet paper (and thus, the environmental strain that TP generates both on trees and plumbing).

I have a hard time figuring out new-fangled towel dispensers in men's rooms ... I can't imagine the learning curve on a bidet. But I'm looking forward to seeing how Toto attacks this culturally-challenged marketing chore. They've already toned down their USA Web site which used to show an abundance of behinds. Now it's much more traditional. But the site still has a video explaining how the company's "Washlet" works. Click here to go to the site and then click on the video.

Danica Now Hawking Watches

From AdRants: Dale is a big open wheel race fan. So it stands to reason that he's a Danica Patrick fan ... although in truth, that has nothing to do with her racing.

Anyway, Danica is known by many for her GoDaddy commercials and Web site extended commercials ... which are funnier than the TV versions. Now she has hooked up with GQ to appear in a four page advertorial for Tissot Swiss Watches in the September issue. So there she is all glamour girl-style in a pool wearing a bikini, being embraced by a dude and wearing two watches the size of a person's head on her wrists. It's okay with me.

Another Endorsement
Speaking of racing, our friend and GT1 racecar driver, John Schaller, supports the notion that readers of this blog should "pass it on" to others. At least I think he does. I haven't actually talked with him for awhile. (Below, John autographs a program for a fan at Road America.)

Don't "Sexualize" Nudity?
SunSentinel.com and AdFreak: One never hears about nudist-colony associations until something weird happens.

A clothing-optional retreat in Florida called Paradise Lakes Resort has had its membership in the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) suspended over its racy advertising for a G-string pageant.

The AANR says the ad, showing a hot blonde chick straddling a motorcycle, "sexualized the nudist experience." Really? First of all I wasn't aware that it was wrong to "sexualize" being nude. (I don't even think it's possible not to.) Second of all, the contestants won't be nude. It's a "G-string" contest. Problem solved.

As Long as I'm on the Subject

I'm beginning to think that you non-Mannequin Americans try to find a sexual side to just about everything. My latest piece of evidence to support this hypothesis is The Snuggie Sutra Web site which visually depicts ideas for different sexual positions while wrapped in a Snuggie blanket.  Some of the illustrated positions are entertaining to read about, but come on ... it's a Snuggie blanket ... my grandma has one.

Posted: Sep 22 2009, 06:30 AM by chip | with no comments
Filed under: , , ,
A Page From Depression-Era Marketing

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American

Taking a Page from Depression-Era Marketing

According to The Denver Post, the town of Crested Butte, CO has come up with a creative way to support local merchants ... they issue their own money ... a.k.a. script.

Consumers purchase Butte Bucks at a 20% discount at the Crested Butte Visitor's Center. Participants can buy up to 100 a day for $80 until the supply runs out. Participating merchants pay $30 to market the program and agree to accept Bucks as they would dollars. The merchants then redeem the Butte Bucks for U.S. currency at the Chamber of Commerce.

It's a clever way to promote local businesses and keep money in the community. Consumers get a discount, merchants get more business, and the towns collect higher sales-tax revenues. The down side is that printing script was tried during the depression with mixed or poor results.

Feeling Selfish for Being Happy?

Last week during one of our "Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be" presentations for a group of frontline employees, a member of the audience raised his hand with an unusual question. He asked, "With economy in such bad shape and so many people having so many financial problems, shouldn't a cheerful, motivated person feel a little selfish for feeling happy?"

Here's Dale's answer; and it's a good one.

"Think about this. When is the last time someone brightened your day a little just by smiling at you? Was that person selfish to smile at you? Is a stranger who performs a little act of kindness for you, selfish? I'd say they're just the opposite. Feelings are contagious ... both happy and unhappy ones. When you're happy others catch your emotions, your passion and your optimism.

"Happy people make better decisions, have better relationships, make more money, are less sick, and contribute more to the world than unhappy people. Happy people are more creative and inventive than unhappy people. 

"So it's not selfish to be happy. When you become responsible for and embrace your happiness it's better for you, it's better for your family, it's better for your employer, it's better for everyone. But it's not easy. That's why we all need occasional doses of motivation to remind us that everyone benefits when we push ourselves to succeed, to excel and to be happy."

Some days the guy just knows what to say. For information on our motivational, goal setting and time management programs, click here.

What do You Think?

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has started a campaign to be the face of the luxury furrier Dennis Basso.

Naomi's ads have become a little controversial because back in 1998 she appeared in the iconic ad campaign for PETA, "I'd rather go naked than wear fur."

From the looks of the ads, she just doesn't like to wear clothes.

What do you think of Naomi Campbell's fur ads?


  • Despicable (0%)
  • Proably many of those models don't really care about fur, they just do it for the publicity (33.3%)
  • What's the big deal about fur? (66.7%)
You voted for 'What's the big deal about fur?'.
  • Total Votes: 3
  • Voting Ended: 10/3/2009

Billboards That Caught My Attention

With photoshoppers constantly pumping out fake print ads and billboards, it's hard to know if you're looking at a legitimate piece of marketing or not.  Thanks to 10 Steps.sg for finding the following couple of "real" gems.


More Posts Next page »