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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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December 2009 - Posts

New Marketing World for B2B

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

A New Marketing World for B2B
In the new world of social media, public relations people must know scores of writers, bloggers and Twitter users versus having just six top reporters on speed dial. While public relations is just one arrow in the marketing quiver for most companies, it is now playing a much more crucial role in B2B marketing strategies ... or it should be.

The new network economy is about communities, collaboration and user-generated content. It's a place where business reputations are defined by customer opinions and ratings; where press is delivered by independent bloggers; and where product development and insight is driven by end users.

B2B companies should be considering all of this in their 2010 marketing and customer relations programs, or face falling behind competitors who do.

Horny Shiny Suds Offends Some

A few days ago I included a post about a humorous commercial from the "Household Products Labeling Acts" called Shiny Suds, showing scrubbing bubbles taunting a naked woman in the shower. It was a funny commercial ... that's why I included it. A lot of blogs included it. But the ad generated complaints from people who likened the spot to condoning rape (I kid you not), so the commercial was pulled.

Here is AdRants take on the situation: 

  1. Feminist blogging should be outlawed.
  2. Everyone with a stick up their butt over this should promptly shove it all the way through until it pops out the top of their head. Hopefully they'll die and allow the rest of us to "use the loofa" without feeling like we're being gang raped in the shower. (Where do people come up with this stuff?)
  3. Brands should grow a pair and ignore the gaggle of idiots who have nothing better to do than to try and suck the last drop of humor out of life.
  4. ... the remainder of the suggestions were a little over top even for this blog. But you can click here to read them.

Time Magazine's First Moving Cover: The Decade From Hell

We're crying with you baby.

Although a press release claimed that the recent issue of TIME magazine was the first moving cover shot, that's not really accurate. Esquire magazine did the same last April with a moving cover of Megan Fox shot by Greg Williams. 

You can purchase a camera like the one used to make these moving covers. It only costs $17,500. For more information on the camera and the Time photo shoot, click here.

Vodka Ads Remain Consistent Through the Decades
Not surprisingly, many liquor manufacturers use sex and sexual references to help sell their products. But vodka manufacturers seem to take this tendency further than their spirited brethren. And they've been doing it for decades.

(I wonder if she even remembers burning her bra after "discovering Smirnoff"?) The bra burning Smirnoff ad above is from the 60's. Smirnoff definitely convinced the model to burn her bra ... which doesn't' explain why the guy next to her is staring a hole through her head. 

This recent ad for Smirnoff (above) is a little more subtle, but the message remains pretty much the same as it was 40 years ago.

Absolut took some flak for the ad above ... but is still using it.

(above) Probably one of my favorite vodka ads ... and probably not real.

SKYY vodka pushes the envelope even farther with its marketing. Above is one of its "tamer" ads.

Continuing vodka's rich heritage of not-so-hidden sexual themes, Three Olives introduced its "What's Your O-Face" campaign in '09.

In the future vodka will maintain its marketing traditions, according to the ad above for SVEDKA vodka ... "Voted #1 Vodka of 2033."

If you see any other interesting ads for Vodka, forward them (or a link) to me and I'll include more in a later blog.

More "Puppets in the News"

Happy With a Hoover?

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

There are just too many funny things in this old ad to count. Hard to imagine that it was a serious ad in the 60's.

But today is Christmas Day, so stop reading blogs and go spend some quality time with people you care about ... or send me a present ... whichever is easier.

Tax Dollars Heading to Italy

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

Your Tax Dollars Heading to Italy

Chrysler's new president, Olivier Francois, selected an Italian ad agency to promote the Chrysler brand. The agency already does work for his Italian-made Lancia cars.

I frequently ride in the trunk of Dale's Chrysler 300, with minimal complaint. But hiring an Italian agency shouldn't sit well with American taxpayers who bailed out Chrysler earlier this year with billions of dollars. This is especially true since it will put several hundred employees of Chrysler Group's longtime ad agency BBDO, in Detroit, out of work at the end of January.

And by the way, the Italian's first commercial for Chrysler isn't selling cars and is off the mark. Here it is.       

Anti-Gift Card, Card

You can get a Consumerist Anti-Gift Card, card to give to others. Printed on glossy card stock, and packaged in a classy little envelope, it's the perfect gift for that hard-to-please person on your list. Of course, you'll have to slip a couple of bills into the envelope along with the card.

To get one, just send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:

Consumerist Anti-Gift Card
101 Truman Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10703

Laughter is Good Medicine

It's been said time after time that laughter is the best medicine. A Canadian therapist is taking this concept to a whole new level.

In Vancouver, David Granirer, a stand-up himself, has founded the Stand Up for Mental Health project; a year-long intensive course that trains patients suffering from depression and other emotional problems to craft their pain into hilarious comedic routines. Program participants complete their therapy by performing their acts for audiences at psych wards, college campuses, and mental health conferences.

"We use comedy to give consumers a powerful voice and help reduce the stigma and discrimination around mental illness" Granirer says. "The idea is that laughing at our setbacks raises us above them. It makes people go from despair to hope; and hope is crucial to anyone struggling with adversity. Studies prove that hopeful people are more resilient and also tend to live longer, healthier lives."

Now I know why I've been doing stand-up for over 25 years ... it's therapy.

Don't Take a Dustbuster to Bed

If you're trying in vain to find the ideal gift to spice up the bedroom this holiday season, Philips might have the answer for you. Here's a 60-second commercial where a couple gives it a go with various toys including a buffer, a GPS system ("You have reached your destination"), a Dustbuster and more. They finally find the cure-all in the form of a Philips sensual massager.  It's kinda funny.

Vanilla is Erotic

Speaking of "laughter," Science World claims "vanilla is the most erotic scent to older men." So they created this refreshingly hilarious commercial with old people portraying themselves as hot, horny twenty-somethings with nothing better to do than seductively lick ice cream cones in slow motion.

Sky HD TV Eases Life's Challenges

From Adrants: I have no idea how this commercial sells Sky HD TV? Life got you down? Shark bit your hands off? Caught your wife cheating? It's not a big deal. Just sit down, turn the TV on and all your troubles will disappear. It's sick, it's sadistic and it's funny ... in a sick, sadistic way.

Brown & Martin White Papers Available
The Brown & Martin Web site was recently updated and now offers the following whitepapers for your reference, with no login required. Just go to
http://www.bmpr.com/ and click on Whitepapers.

  • Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?
  • Don't Let High Tech Replace High Touch
  • The Use of Character Icons as Marketing Tools
  • How to Get the Most Out of Your Promotional Budget Through Annual Marketing Tactic Meetings
  • Create a Search-Friendly Web Site
  • What Marketers Don't Tell You About E-Newsletters
  • Employers Need Strategies for Electronic Newsletters
  • Tips for Being Honest with Employees About the Recession
  • Marketing is Everyone's Responsibility



Sex Moves from Ads into Stores

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

Dear Diary
As marketing/PR consultants we get to work with lots of brilliant, successful people. But occasionally, successful people start thinking that because they're so successful, they have all the answers and can do no wrong.

Those who think they know everything are annoying ... and generally bad managers ... bad for the organization, bad for business and bad clients. As I like to say, "Those who think they know everything should get out of the way of those of us who do."

We work with a CEO who asks a lot of questions. In fact, he's demanding about it. He asks very tough questions. He asks them; then he keeps bugging us until we come up with viable, provable answers. And he never forgets ... so neither do we. For us, he creates a work environment that is challenging and fosters accountability. And we do great work for him and his company.

Then there are the clients who have all the answers. A "challenging" environment is almost non-existent because everyone just does as they're told. The client doesn't get the best programs because we become order takers versus expert advisors. The work is generally easier, but it's definitely not fulfilling ... because we know we could do better.

So if you're a manager, try to always keep in mind that it's not good business to think you have all the answers ... and it's probably not what got you to where you are today.

It's Not About the Animals

In Peta's efforts to rid the world of everything eatable, wearable and comfortable comes its latest "ad," which shows an almost naked woman ... Playboy's Joanna Krupa ... holding a cross and floating in mid air as if she were an angel. (Needles to say, Catholics and Protestants are united in outrage.) The ad is supposed to call attention to the fact people shouldn't buy animals. You can see the controversial ad by clicking here ... I'm not going to give it a platform by showing it.

It doesn't really matter that Peta ads rarely appear anywhere other than on its Web site and then are picked up by multitudes of Internet outlets ... which I guess is the point. All Peta is after is publicity. I don't think Peta really cares where people get their animals or how animals are cared for. I'm sure it spends more money on its ads than it does actually "caring" for animals.

No, as Adrants pointed out, it's all about nudity. And press. And scandal. And salaciousness. And titillation. And press. And sensationalism. It's not about the animals.

Sex Moves from Ads into Stores
When a business's survival is at risk, people tend to get creative and do things that they wouldn't otherwise consider or find tasteful. What they're looking for is a competitive advantage and a way to get people in the door.

A growing number of businesses are deciding to use scantily-clad women as their creative "hook."  While they tend to be a lot less "sexual" than the PETA ads mentioned above, they still often cause controversy.

(Above) Amber Langdon and Leah Buchanan are bikini models and baristas at Perky Cups (get it) in Aurora, CO. They are part of a growing number of people adding some sexiness to otherwise mundane businesses.

A Little Off The Top, a men's salon, offers a variety of salon services performed by "Licensed Professionals in classy Lingerie." Click here to see photos of the "professionals." I suddenly have the need for a haircut ... and I wear a wig.

And here is a news video about a Dallas beer barn, the In & Out, which uses scantily-clad employees. By the way, a "beer barn" is a drive through beer and wine depot where you don't have to get out of your car. You can just sit and watch the young ladies fetch your six pack. I don't care what they wear, that is a great concept.

(Above) Baristas Toni Morgan and Candice Law chat with customer Phil Sheridan at the Cowgirls Espresso drive-through in Tukwila, WA.

In Memphis, TN, the women of Tiger Time Lawn Care mow customers' lawns dressed in bikinis...a service that attracts more attention to the ladies than the lawns.

While businesses that employ bikini-clad women often subject themselves to complaints and demonstrations, the tactic seems totally okay when used to draw attention to social issues, such as "climate change," above.

But even "social good" can be jeopardized by the suggestion of too much skin. Several years ago, in the spirit of good will, a Hooters restaurant in Janesville, WI offered a cash donation to a local charity.  It was turned down. In fact, it was turned down three times by three different charities.

Why? Well it seems the charities didn't want to be associated with something as despicable (dripping with sarcasm here) as Hooters. The story made national news. Who do you think received the most positive publicity from this incident; Hooters or the non-profits that Hooters was trying to help?

As a side note, one of the most celebrated champions in NASCAR history was Alan Kulwicki, who drove the Hooters car before his tragic death in an airplane crash. Do you know where the largest display of Kulwicki/Hooters memorabilia is? It's in a McDonalds restaurant in Milwaukee, WI. So I guess if that McDonalds offered to make a donation to those same three charities, they would be obliged to turn it down because McDonalds is associated with Kulwicki, who was associated with Hooters.

Those who made the decision to turn down the donation probably had never been in a Hooters. That's called freedom of choice. Turning down a donation that could have a positive impact on those your charity serves is called dim-witted self-righteousness. Just saying ...


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