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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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October 2009 - Posts

Inegrated Marketing Case History

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

You Want Something? Use Integrated Marketing to Get It

I now understand "integrated marketing" because I've witnessed its power firsthand.

Dale (the guy who has a hand in everything I do) was recently the target of a sophisticated, fully-integrated one-to-one marketing campaign that lasted over three months and resulted in a successful purchase. The marketer made full use of available channels to build a detailed case in a logical sequence. The benefits-driven messaging appeared in print (targeted cards and notes), digital (e-mail, text messaging) and social media dialogs (connecting him to satisfied customers and testimonials).

The marketer achieved all this despite some tough challenges, including: a poor track record in past efforts; knowledge that Dale has a short attention span; and knowing that Dale has poor short-term memory. I'm told that all of these disadvantages are common in "husbands."

Yes, the multichannel campaign to convince Dale to purchase a specific piece of jewelry was designed and carried out by his wife, Leslie. The campaign was ultimately successful. And, as in all such campaigns, success could not be attributed to any single channel, but rather to all of them working in concert, backed by an astonishing degree of motivation.

Leslie obviously understood that channel integration was essential and that the best campaigns fire on all cylinders. Unlike many corporate marketers, she wasn't hampered by bureaucracy, decreased budgets, organizational constraints or fear or failure. In the real world these obstacles often keep marketers from executing the perfectly obvious plan.

Kudos to Leslie who truly knows the power, the workings and the triumph of integrated marketing.

Companies Willing to Pay This Much, Should Give Me a Call

When it fits, we integrate social media into marketing strategies to help keep a company's voice consistent across all communication tools. That's what marketing/PR firms do. But after reading an article in a recent edition of The Wall Street Journal, it became clear to me that I'm in the wrong business ... or I'm in the right business, but not charging enough. "Firms Get a Hand With Twitter, Facebook" talks about firms that are providing social media expertise to businesses and the costs associated with their services. For example:

  • Arrange live-streaming Web conferences: $20,000 (Huh?!)
  • Social-media support as part of a package of advertising and public-relations services: $10-20k/mo. or $200/hr. (Insane.)
  • Social media training for your staff: $5-10k per month (I'll do it for less.)

Are you kidding me?! Seriously, call me ... (Okay, not me, but others who actually work in our office.) They can do most of the things mentioned above for considerably less money.

It's crazy that some companies seem eager to shell out big cash to firms that couldn't possibly be "experts" in a field that is too young for anyone to make such a claim. But carving out a niche as a "social media expert" is a booming fad today. We'll check back in 3 years to see if it's still around as an "industry" or just part of the tools used by ad agencies and full-service marketing/PR firms.  My money is on the latter.

And here's a 60 second cartoon that sums up the non-complexities of social media humorously and honestly. (Go ahead - click on it. It's funny.)

Playboy Copies Itself
Social media has been all a "Twitter" about the cover of Playboy's November issue featuring Marge Simpson, the first cartoon character to ever appear on the cover. (I wonder if they'll have a fold-out of Marge?)

But KissMyBlackAds points out that Marge's cover is simply a redo of Playboys October 1971 issue featuring Darine Stern, the first black woman to appear on Playboy's cover.  (Gotta love the person who remembered that they'd seen that pose before and went searching for it.) I think it takes class to satirize yourself.  Well done.

Playboy has even struck a deal with 7-Eleven (which has done a lot of Simpsons promotions, including changing stores into Kwik-E-Marts) to carry the magazine, something it's done only once before in the past 20 years.

Ads That Caught My Attention

This ad for Slim Fast made me smile (which is difficult because my mouth is made of wood). It may be a bit chauvinistic, but it gets the point across.

Here's something completely tasteless. What were the people at Muscle Milk thinking when they approved the copy for the ad above?  Oh, wait. I know. They thought they were being clever ... how could anyone possibly be offended by the words, "tail getter?"

I don't want you to think that today's advertising is worse than yesterday's advertising ... so read the copy for the Drano ad below.

Reading between the lines, here's my take on the story. "Our relationship was headed down the drain ... because the bathwater wasn't. After he dressed, Herbert would shuffle into the kitchen for his buttered toast. He'd sit down and look at it and say either ‘too light' or ‘too dark.' He'd sip his coffee and mumble ‘too weak' or ‘too strong.' Meanwhile, the bathwater was s-l-o-w-l-y emptying.

"But this morning, all that's changed! The Drano I sprinkled down the drain last night worked! And Herbert slipped in the bathtub, fell, cracked his skull open and died. Thank you Drano!"


New Marketing Tools Can Bite

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

New Marketing Tools Can Bite

Veteran marketers are warning companies not to be seduced by the power of social media before they understand it.

"You can go running after the next shiny thing, but it has to be driven by a core insight; not by somebody's ego," said Brian Maynard, director-brand marketing for Whirlpool's premium brands, Kitchen Aid and Jenn-Air.

Mr. Maynard admitted that he'd once fallen victim to that tendency, by building a "virtual dinner party" on Kitchen Aid's Web site. "It got way out ahead of our objectives," he said. "I think four people interacted with it, including my mother, who had dial-up," he said. "And it won an award." (I guess for the agency, that justifies all of the client's wasted money.)

Smart Idea Will Earn Estee Lauder Social Media Boost

Estee Lauder cosmetics has found a way to connect with social media users ... offering free makeovers and photo shoots at its department store counters to produce shots women can use for their online profiles. Brilliant. (You can also upload your photo on their Web site and give yourself a makeover using their "virtual makeover tools." Then simply upload the results to use on your social networking sites.)

The in-store promotion includes giveaways of a 10-day supply of foundation. It kicks off Oct. 16th at Bloomingdales in New York and will extend to Macy's, Saks and other stores in major cities. Defying convention, no purchase is required for the gifts.

The Estee Lauder logo will be in the background of the photos, which, assuming they aren't Photo shopped into oblivion, could give the brand lasting presence on Facebook beyond its own 27,000-member plus fan page. The promotion is being plugged on that page, as well as on Estee Lauder's Web site, and through PR.

Barbie Like You've Never Seen Her Before

Generally I have a "thing" for dolls. But I think I'll take a pass on these altered Barbies.

Barfin' Barbies, Boozin' Barbies, Bondage Barbies, Bodacious Barbies, and much, much more were featured at this years' "7th Annual Altered Barbie Exhibit" in San Francisco (where else?).

Sculpture, Photography, paintings and other media were used by various artists to interpret the iconic Mattel Doll. Click here to see how outlandish Barbie can be ... if you dare.

Too Bad This Isn't a Joke

This billboard has been all over the Internet ... which may have been the company's goal from the start. UlsterTrader.com ran the billboard featuring a bra-clad cleavage with the headline "Nice headlamps," and below that asking "What do you look for in a car?"

The billboard was predictably banned, which as always, resulted in more exposure for the ad and the company. Maybe the creators hoped that drivers would see it, and unable to tear their eyes away they'd crash their cars and then need to buy a new one at Ulstertrader.com?  Don't get me wrong ... I'm a big fan of cleavage. But this is probably one of the worst excuses for an ad that I've ever seen.

Another Bad Ad

From AdLand: The Adelaide Casino wanted to encourage more women to play poker by running an exclusive ladies poker tournament ... good idea. To draw attention to their female tournament, they used the ad above. Bad idea. I don't think women need to be reminded that they have boobies ... or am I reading too much into it?

Potential Product Line Extension?

How to Save a Magazine


If there's ever an indication that a magazine is in trouble, this is it. I assume ESPN, the magazine, will sell out of its October issue featuring Serena Williams on the cover ... and little else. (I have extra copies if anyone wants one.) Apparently ESPN is taking a "page" out of Sports Illustrated ... but without the swimsuits. It would appear to be a desperate move to impede declining sales.

Finally a Classy Set of Ads Aimed at Women

Taryn Rose International is rolling out a new identity and a redesign of their footwear. And the company's ads are as classy as their shoes. See ... an ad can be "sexy" without resorting to "sex."

Dunham Again Sets a Record

From Punchline Magazine: No one should be surprised by this news. The Jeff Dunham Show last Thursday night broke Comedy Central ratings records by sucking in 7.9 million viewers between its series premiere at 9 pm and replays afterwards.

The show, a mix of Dunham's ventriloquist stand-up act and field sketches (think Chappelle and Mencia show formats), drew 5.3 million total viewers in its first showing last night. As a result - again, no surprise here - Comedy Central had its highest rated night of television in 2009.

Why is all of this not surprising? Dunham is incredibly popular; he made Forbes' Celebrity 100 list this year (clocking in at #89). He also had the highest grossing stand-up tour last year, has broken YouTube view records by garnering nearly 98 million views of his Achmed the Dead Terrorist routine and last year, Dunham had the highest rated Comedy Central special in history when 6.6 million people sat down to watch his Very Special Christmas Special.

Your Web Site Has Changed ... Maybe Without You Knowing It

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

If You Have a Web Site, the World Just Changed a Little

Google has introduced Google Sidewiki as an add-on to the Google Toolbar. Google's Sidewiki is an option that allows anyone to make comments on any Web site, and those comments can be seen by anyone who has the Google Toolbar with Sidewiki installed in their Web browser. (It requires the Google toolbar to be installed, then you have to enable Sidewicki.)

In short, people can now leave comments on your Web site, even if you don't want them to.

Once you have SideWiki running, you have the ability to review any product, right there on any company's Web site. And you can read what others have said. You also have the ability to respond to comments.

As a Web site owner you can claim your Google Sidewiki space and your introductory comment will always appear at the top of the "comments." This is a good idea because if you don't enable Sidewicki and put in an introductory remark, others may be leaving comments that you can't see ... but visitors with Sidewiki will be able to see.

If you're a B&M client, we can help you to claim your Web site's Google Sidewiki and set it up in a few minutes. Give Steve a call.

Obviously, Sidewiki presents the potential for abuse. Users could "graffiti" a Web site with spam/negative comments, offensive material, etc., and Web site owners would have to contact Google to have the material removed. But, this is just another example of how empowered customers are becoming, and how their ability to express themselves online can no longer be ignored. As with other social tools, Sidewiki will be a potential problem for companies that ignore it ... and a potential advantage for companies that embrace it.

If you have questions, email B&M's technical guru, Steve, at steve.borgwardt@bmpr.com. We've already claimed our Sidewiki space on our Web site http://www.bmpr.com/.

Last Tuesday's Blog

Last Tuesday's blog contained a flash animation of me as Achmed the Dead Terrorist. I thought it was funny ... which it was. Unfortunately flash animations don't work in email or RSS feeds. They only work on web pages. So unless you clicked on the title and went to my actual blog site, or you follow my blog on something like www.blogged.com you just saw a big red "X." I learned this from the IT people who work in our office and who helped me imbed the flash annimation in my blog. Of course they only told me about it not showing up in email and RSS feeds after the blog had been published ... which is the way IT geeks usually operate.

 Sesame Street Mad Men Parody

They're "Mad. Mad. Mad." Or they could be "Sad. Sad. Sad." Whatever they are, I have an understandable infatuation for the Muppets.

I guess you know you've made it when Sesame Street does a parody about your show. Never mind the double digit number of Emmys that Mad Men has received.  Click here to see the 90 second spot.

There's a Reason They're Always Smoking on Mad Men

It was a different era. Just about everyone smoked. I remember on TV series like Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare, doctors would routinely light up while talking to patients in hospital rooms. Seriously.

More significant, at the time real doctors not only condoned smoking, they promoted it ... as the ad below demonstrates.

Even the Flintstones promoted cigarettes during the show in this commercial that seems pretty amusing today.

Yes, it was a different era. Today Michael Jordan can get in trouble for smoking outside! A San Francisco city official asked the PGA Tour to remind Michael Jordan that he can't smoke cigars at Harding Park during the Presidents Cup because it's a public facility and smoking is banned. Jordan was serving as an honorary assistant to United States captain Fred Couples.

A photo of Jordan smoking his cigar was published in the San Francisco Chronicle and caught the attention of city officials.  It seems that the Nanny State keeps getting Nannier.

Craig Ferguson Found His Job of Being Funny a Bit Challenging ... But He was up to the Challenge

"The person you work for, the person you admire and respect, is caught in an embarrassing situation. And your job is to be funny about that whilst trying to keep your own job. So if I inadvertently say something that gets me fired I hope it's funny."

Watch this entertaining clip of Craig Ferguson's comments the day after David Letterman made public his extortion and office indiscretions.

Packers are First in Something ...

The Minnesota vs. Green Bay game was the most-watched program in cable history. A mammoth 21.8 million viewers watched Brett Favre annihilate his former team, add to his list of records and prove beyond any doubt that he's still capable of winning games and perhaps going to the Super Bowl.  The enormous audience that viewed the event means that the level of Green Bay's (Ted Thomson's) embarrassment should also be some kind of record.

How to Counter a Social Media Myth

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

What to Do if Social Media Spreads a Myth About Your Company

Occasionally I get an email about specific content of this blog offending someone. I could respond with, "Get over it, that's how I write." But I usually don't do that.  While I don't believe in candy coating things to avoid potential sensitivities of readers, I do understand that certain hot buttons can strike chords with some people. I can't avoid all of those landmines without severely hampering my writing style. But I can empathize and say that I'm sorry for my part in arousing those feelings in a reader of my blog ... which is what I typically do. But what if your company or your product is "called out" on the internet? What do you do? What do you say?

James Thatcher is one of the more internet-famous brand managers in Procter & Gamble history.  He was the target of an open letter from a disgruntled consumer about the "Always Have a Happy Period" campaign. The letter has had remarkable staying power on blogs and Twitter since it was first published in March 2007, with about 64,500 Google hits and counting.

There's just one problem: Mr. Thatcher doesn't exist.

The letter was originally written by a former advertising copywriter for the humor site McSweeneys.net, under the header "Open Letters to People or Entities Who are Unlikely to Respond."

P&G has largely ignored the Thatcher letter and their silence may have been the best move. The mythical letter seems not to have hurt the company's product Always one bit. Its dollar market share is up 5.8 percentage points since the "Happy Period" campaign came out and 2.6 points to 52.4% since the letter started making the rounds.

A key is that P&G knows their target audience."Complaints to the Happy Period campaign come mainly from women who prefer tampons," a company spokesperson said. The original consumer insight behind the campaign -- that pad users tend to feel less negative about their periods and see them as a normal, healthy part of life -- appears to have been right, given the brand's growth the past three years.

All this raises the question of when brands should respond to social-media criticism of their ads. Certainly social-media controversies that speak to the core of a brand promise ... such as the YouTube video in which (now former) Domino's employees adulterated food, or another showing people breaking into Kryptonite bike locks ... need to be addressed.

But people who just don't like ads typically pose less risk.

In a way, P&G's non-response to Ms. Aarons' letter these past 30 months has been the mirror opposite of J&J's rapid response to Motrin ads that offended some women who carry their babies in slings. There's speculation that J&J, by responding early to the blogger moms, may have given more life to something that otherwise may have died. I'm in that camp.

Data suggests that ad controversies don't have much lasting impact either way. Anyone who's made anything has critics.  Here are three ideas from Andy Sernovits to help separate the pointless troll comments from something that deserves a response.

What to look for:

  • How influential the commenter is. Probably the biggest early indicator of a potential crisis is how influential the person raising a fuss is. The bigger the network the critic has, the faster the negativity can spread.
  • How your core fans are responding. If you see that your core group of evangelists is upset about an issue, that could be an early warning that something is really wrong.
  • If it spreads to another channel. Seeing an issue translate from a few comments on a blog to an increase in angry calls to the call center should be a clear signal that you've got a serious issue brewing.

Speaking of Negative Social Media

People of Walmart is a blog that lets people upload, rate and comment on photos of oddly dressed people seen shopping at Walmart. (Apparently there's no shortage of subjects.) And it would seem there's not a darn thing Walmart can do about the blog.

If Walmart tries to squash the site, they'll quickly become the target of social media. If they laugh with the site, they'll be accused of laughing at their own customers.

They're better off to stay quiet and let the hoopla die down. Which it will, eventually.

In the meantime, some of the photos are really, really funny. It becomes rather voyeuristically addictive ... and you'll feel much better about yourself ... I promise.

Kudos to New Clorox Commercial

It has to be tough to produce a commercial that will run during a show about advertising. And frankly I'm surprised that I haven't seen any marketing/advertising-related blogs talk about the effectiveness of the new Clorox Bleach commercial that appears during Ad Men on AMC.

The commercial does a wonderful job of validating Clorox's enduring marketing edge in a very old category, while at the same time connecting to Ad Men by showing the evolution of the product's logo and container. I'm sure many viewers relate to the depictions of how laundry has been tackled through the years ... with Clorox always part of the picture.  Well done.

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

What the Heck is a Bit.ly or TinyURL?
Since Twitter only allows 140 characters to be used...long URLs can't be copied into Twitter.  There are several sources that create custom small URLs that can be pasted into your message.  For example, I wanted to Tweet about the Whitepaper I wrote regarding Social Media.  That link is:

http://www.bmpr.com/whitepaper-request.aspx  a whopping 43 characters. I went to  www.bit.ly and it created this URL for me  http://bit.ly/X2tDy at 19 characters. The nice thing about bit.ly is that it provides stats on your links so you can tell if anyone is clicking on your links.  And the account is free!

What is the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.?

It's real. It's entertaining. It's the brainchild of literary celeb Dave Eggers.

Ever consider where Wonder Woman got her invisible plane or Bruce Wayne, his manor? Chances are, like all savvy caped crusaders, they found them at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. Below are a couple of photos from their catalog.

The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. is a crime-fighting supply retailer whose sales support 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 through 18 with workshops in creative and expository writing.

With a brick and mortar store as well as an e-commerce site, they sell products ranging from capes and costumes to secret identity kits and maps exposing good and evil. It's a great place to find clever gifts that can't be found anywhere else. Visit the Web site by clicking here.

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