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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January 2010 - Posts

Successful Email Marketing Requirements

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

Successful Email Marketing Requirements
If you're thinking about implementing an email marketing program, lean on people who can help you avoid common mistakes.

Experienced email experts can guide you through the ins and outs of:

  • Proper design
  • Landing your email in the inbox.
  • Words/phrases to avoid
  • The correct ratio of images to text

Experience has taught those of us who craft effective content what works and what doesn't.

It's also important to know how much text to include, the type of text, what types of images are most likely to get clicked on and much more.

Seriously ... You Should Have Gotten Underwear for Christmas

(What does a Mannequin American have to do to get invited to a Jockey underwear fashion show?)

From our friends at BizTimes: According to a survey by Kenosha-based underwear manufacturer Jockey International Inc., 43% of Americans say they need new underwear. Equally important, 21% say that their significant other needs new underwear.

I guess all of our gift-giving-dilemmas for 2010 are solved.

A previous survey indicated that 25% of Americans own underwear that is 5 or more years old (are you kidding me?) and 79% have underwear that is "tattered, discolored or stained." Thank goodness I don't wear underwear, or that last statement would gross me out.

Special Note:

As long as I'm referencing Milwaukee BizTimes, this week's issue contained an article on the new State Fair Park director and the many challenges he will face. To help "drive" the point home, the publication used a photo of Dale in his racecar, crossing the finish line at the Milwaukee Mile in front of grandstands devoid of any spectators.   (Maybe they were blaming him for the poor attendance?)

Attention-Getting Bus Wrap

From Ads of the World: This bus wrap for the Copenhagen Zoo shows a giant constrictor snake squeezing a city bus. Looks like something Signs and Lines, by Stretch would do. Impressive and attention-getting.

Vent Haven Convention 2010

Dale (above with Louie the Jockey) will be a featured lecturer at the 2010 International Ventriloquists' Convention, July 14 - 17, in Ft. Mitchell, KY.  The workshop will be based on Dale's book, "Putting Money Where Your Mouth Is ... How to get those first paying jobs as a ventriloquist." I'm assuming I'll make an appearance at the workshop ... otherwise, why else would they have invited Dale?

For more information about the conVENTion go to its Facebook page by clicking here, (and become a "friend" to keep up with the latest news) or go to the conVENTion Web site by clicking here.

If you'd like to view or purchase any of Dale's books, click here.

Speaking of Ventriloquism

A new documentary, DUMBSTRUCK made its world premiere at the 21st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival and appears to have gotten good reviews.

The movie follows five 'vents' for a year and culminates with them meeting up at the international Ventriloquists' ConVENTion. Dale and I know all of them, including Wilma.

"The vents are real and viewers share in their successes and missteps, both on- and off-stage, as they strive in their own ways to achieve the American dream," according to producers. (Dale and I gave up on the American dream long ago. For us, it's been a long, tough struggle to the middle.) One of the vents followed in the movie is Terry Fator of American's Got Talent fame and now starring at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

You can see a trailer for the movie by clicking here. If you're a vent, you'll see a lot of people who you know.

Also, if you're a vent, you'll want to listen to the movies theme song. I think it's called "You've got a special friend by your side." Dale laughed, then he cried, and now he's in the fetal position over in the corner. I became speechless.

Please let me know what you think of the song in the "comments" section of this blog, or email me at chip.martin@bmpr.com 

Speaking more about Ventriloquism ...

It's against my nature to make disparaging remarks about fellow-Mannequin Americans ... but I have to admit, this Michael Jackson puppet, advertised on Ebay, creeps me out a bit.

A Final Note on Ventriloquism

Next Thursday Dale and I will be having dinner with Jeff Dunham, before Jeff's show at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI. Well, Dale will be with Jeff, I'll be with Walter, Peanut, Achmed and Bubba. They know how to party.

The Bradley Center seats 20,000 for concerts and Jeff's show is predicted to sell out ... go figure?

If you haven't seen Jeff's "arena show" do yourself a favor and make a point not to miss it the next time he's in your area.  It really is his funniest show, ever. According to this article, Jeff was the top grossing comedian in 2008 and 2009 and is on Fortune magazine's list of the Top 100 Most Powerfui Celebrities. (If he's so "powerful" maybe he can get me a better partner? I think Dale has been holding me back.)


The Risks of Celebrity Spokespersons

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

Tiger's Cost to Corporate Sponsors, $12 Billion

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Two University of California-Davis professors pinned the loss to shareholders from Tiger Woods' marital infidelity at $12 billion.

The researchers studied the stock market for 13 days after Woods crashed his car outside his Florida home on Nov. 27 and later confessed to infidelity. The economists compared returns for Wood's sponsors to those of the total stock market and of each sponsor's closest competitor. The study focused on nine sponsors: Accenture, American Express, AT&T, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf, Gillette, Nike, Gatorade, TLC Laser Eye Centers and Golf Digest. Shareholder value fell 2.3% ... or about $12 billion. The pattern of losses is unlikely to stem from ordinary variation of stock prices the researchers said.

A Poor Solution to the Risks of Celebrity Spokespersons
Tiger's trysts could put a huge dent in the entire "celebrity spokesperson" industry ... except for those companies that use "dead celebrities."

After all, living celebrities can be difficult. They can be demanding, hard to work with and may have actual standards about the products they endorse. No such trouble with dead celebrities. And dead celebrities won't make headlines for beating up a spouse, being adulterers, or going on the disabled list.

John Wayne pitched for Coors from beyond the grave.  Several years after his death, Fred Astaire danced with a vacuum cleaner in a TV commercial. Albert Einstein is clearly the busiest corpse with at least three marketing campaigns running at all times.

Even Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was peddled for 30 pieces of silver by his family ... oops, sorry; licensed by his estate to be used as a representative for a telecommunications commercial and a wireless provider.

Frankly I find the "dead celebrity endorsements" to be reprehensible. I don't want images of people like Gandhi or Amelia Earhart to elicit responses like, "Hey, that's the person who endorses Snapple!"

So like Dr. King, I too have a dream. I have a dream that marketing grave robbing ceases. And that pure profit motive is replaced by purity of motive.

Like I said, it's just a dream.

Unnecessary Dairy Overlap
Leslie Bonk sent me the cartoon below. I'm sorry I don't know the originator. But I have noticed that the claim is true. And it also gave me the opportunity to use the words "isosceles" and "tessellate" in a single blog entry. Couldn't pass that up.

Clever, Attention Getting and Not That Easy

One of my favorite TV commercials of 09 was the American Express "Don't Take Chances" ad (above) that finds "faces" in everyday objects. The commercial explains that when things you purchased with an American Express Card are broken or stolen, American Express will have them repaired, replaced or they will credit your account. But it's the visuals that get and keep your attention.

Clever, effective and entertaining. And if you think it's easy to find "faces" in everyday objects, look around your office, home and on the street. You'll quickly learn that it's not that easy ... which makes the creative talent behind this commercial all the more impressive. 

The Funniest Commercial Walmart Has Ever Done

There's nothing more to say. Just click here and laugh.

My Favorite Corvette

In an on-going effort to help take my readers' minds off of bitter winter weather, I thought I'd share with you, my favorite photo of a 1962 Corvette (above). You're welcome.

And while we're talking about Vettes, GM is recalling some 22,000 Corvettes because of potentially leaky roofs. A problem with the adhesive between the roof panel and the frame could cause them to pull apart, thus causing a leak or worse yet, the roof panel could completely detach ... which would be bad for the car behind you on the freeway.  The recall includes 2005-07 Corvettes with removable roofs and 2006-07 Corvette Z06s. 

And while we're on the subject, above is a photo of the interior of Dale's Vette showing the "Heads Up" display on the windshield. The display is a safety feature which enables drivers to see data without having to take their eyes of the road.  Information includes speed, RPMs, water temp, lateral G forces and more. (Having a G force gage in a car seems a lot like having a breathalyzer in a bar ... in both cases there will be people who want to see how high they can get the gauge to register. I assume that's what Dale is doing while I'm being hurled from one side of the trunk to the other!)

Potential Risk of Misplaced Indictment

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

A Potential Result of Misplaced Indictment

An Open Letter from Cookie Monster:
It is with greater regret than missing out on the first batch of holiday cookies that Cookie Monster must announce retirement from public arena. Me find current working conditions unacceptable and me not want to be neutered and watered down like bland oatmeal.

A couple years ago, corporate masterminds tried to adjust Cookie Monsters diet. Try to make Cookie Monster be "Fruit and Veggie Monster". As if so many obese children was Cookie Monster's fault. Not Cookie Monster's fault that many parents think fast food good meal for dinner. Cookie Monster not Soda Pop Monster! At least cookies so devastatingly delicious that no one will say cookie not worth the calories. Cookie always worth calories. Hmm...thinking about cookies. One moment please. Ahhhhhh num num num, oh yeah, oh yeah, num num num. Sorry, Cookie Monster sometimes not able to exhibit proper self-restraint.

To get back to point, things change for Cookie Monster over last year. Moved to second class status while annoying anorexic Elmo continues to be front line character. Cookie Monster tired of getting accusatory looks from co-workers. Cookie Monster tired of being forced to peddle tofu. Cookie Monster tired of accounts payable staff always leaving breakroom fridge open making Cookie Monster's milk go bad. Cookie Monster tired of being in skits where Grover lectures Cookie Monster on moderation. Grover not interested in moderation when on PR trip to Vegas, as Cookie Monster can attest. You hear that Grover ... me have video taken from iPhone!

So, goodbye to all from Cookie Monster. This old monster will fade away. Me not care about publicity anymore. Me not care that Cookie Monster lose health insurance and matching 401(k). Me not care about educating children while counting cookies. Cupcakes trendy now, modern society have no place for cookie anymore. Do not worry about Cookie Monster ... me make enough in royalties to retire with comfort. And me will be at Laugh Shack in Madison, WI on January 8th! So, I Cookie Monster, bid the public adieu. Enjoy not being entertained by Cookie Monster's exuberant overeating of cookies. Last piece of advice, please enjoy New Year and eat many cookies ... skip the tofu.

Sex Still Sells ... In Case You Didn't Know
Apparently young men can be convinced to eat Carl's Jr. salads or Burger King burgers by the deployment of female flesh. Who Knew?

Restaurant chains are waging large-scale campaigns to convince people ... okay, mostly young men ... to eat fast food by using the sex appeal of Kim Kardashian and the Burger King "Shower Babe." (In the latter case, viewers get to vote for what bikini she wears while she showers under the leer of a Web-camera. Hey, that's really cool, and not at all evocative of pornography.)

I don't understand what all the fuss is? Judge for yourself. Watch Kim Kardashian's new spot selling Carl's Jr. salads ... it's worth a click ... especially if you're a young man.

It's not as if Carl's Jr. hasn't done this sort of thing before. Above, (or click here) Paris Hilton's carwash commercial for Carl's Jr. caused quite an uproar.

And my favorite ... Padma Lakshmi's Carl's Jr. commercial.

When you see sex used like this in a commercial you can probably figure that the product is actually indistinguishable from its competition. You don't have to stop appreciating the libido-stirring images ... but if you keep my opinion in mind, you may start noticing that some companies are telling you more about their product than they probably mean to.

Thanks for Being so Nice

Our appearances at this season's holiday parties for banks, manufacturers, government organizations, service clubs and other groups will come to an end this weekend. So just a brief shout out to all of the nice people we've met and performed for during December and January. The economy may still be down, but you couldn't tell that from the laughter we heard during the past two months.

Thanks again for thinking of us, thanks for inviting us to be part of your festivities and thanks for all of the referrals. Oh, and thanks for signing up to receive this blog!

Who Knew?

Apparently January 21st was "Squirrel Appreciation Day." I wish someone would have told me that before I nailed one with my pellet gun as the critter ate from our bird feeder.


Why Your Company Needs Social Media Guidelines

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

Why Your Company Need Social Media Guidelines
So your company doesn't have any formal Social Media Guidelines in your employee handbook because your company is not actively involved in social media. You may want to re-think that.

If you were to ask your employees if they have Facebook pages, are on LinkedIn, post videos on YouTube or photos on Flickr, you would find that more than half of them are very actively engaging in these activities. And if they list the name of the company where they are employed, their actions have the potential to reflect on you.  That's why it's a good idea to develop some basic guidelines for your employees.

Although the tone of Social Media Guidelines may vary according to a company's culture and relationship with the public, it's important that your company find a balance between protecting an employee's freedom of speech and protecting your company and its products.

B&M offers a free whitepaper offering suggestions for creating social media guidelines. Click here to get a copy.

If You Have to Explain It ...

Okay, I admit it ... I didn't get this ad for Mazda's MX-5 with the tagline, "There's Only Room For Two." I'll give you a minute to think about it ...

Give up. Me too. I finally went online and searched for an explanation. Here it is. If you own a Miata you should take precautions to make sure you don't have any kids because there won't be any room for them in the car. Not clear and not clever. On the other hand, it made it to my blog so maybe the people behind the ad aren't so dumb after all?

If You Think the Snuggie is Stupid ...

Via Copyranter: The Necky is apparently for the person who keeps strangling himself/herself when he/she tries to tie his/her scarf. There's nothing I can write about this that would make it more absurd than it is in real life, so just go watch the video if you haven't already.

And I don't even know what to say about the product below, from Japan ... except that it appears to be the opposite of the Snuggie because you "can't" use your arms.


Dr. Pepper Takes Pepsi's Super Bowl Spot

In an effort to drum up more interest in its recently launched Dr Pepper Cherry, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. has bought advertising time during Super Bowl XLIV. The purchase marks the first time in the company's 125-year history that Dr Pepper will advertise during the National Football League championship. (Media buyers say some 30-second spots on the Super Bowl broadcast are fetching nearly $3 million although ad slots in later quarters are cheaper.)

The soft-drink maker's commercial for the big game will feature rocker Gene Simmons and his Kiss band mates. Mr. Simmons starred in a Dr Pepper Cherry ad campaign in March, which introduced Dr Pepper Cherry.

Dr Pepper Snapple is jumping onto the gridiron as PepsiCo Inc.'s beverage brands take a break from the big game, ending a 23-year Super Bowl run. Dr Pepper will go head-to-head with beverage giant Coca-Cola Co., which has bought several ad slots during the game.

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