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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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August 2010 - Posts

Marketing Tip from Chip

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

Today's Marketing Tip

"People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Chip Martin, Mannequin American and Marketing Guru

You Can Say Everything with Your Fingers?

I'm not quite certain what this mcel commcercial is for ... but it's funny as heck. Click here to see the 30 second spot and smile.


Fom Makethelogobigger: Finally a dating site for lazy guys. No more searching through hundreds of profiles for hours. Sign up, and let her chase YOU. Women can pick and choose the man of their dreams, then make the first move. Click here to see the commercial that's a bit of a rip off of the most fascinating man in the world.

Before you initiate cyber dating, here are some scary facts. More than one million women and 370,000 men are stalked annually in the United States. An astonishing one in twelve women and one in forty-five men will be stalked in their lifetimes. The average duration of stalking is nearly two years and even longer if the stalking involves intimate partners. Click here to learn more.

New Sisley Campaign

From AdRants: I'm the first to admit that this Mannequin American seldom understands the thinking behind fashion advertising. And here's a good example. The new Fall/Winter Sisley campaign is out and I'm not sure it objectifies women, but it sure makes them look stupid. The catalog includes the ubiquitous cleavage shot, but there's also a woman falling out of a dryer and the shot above of a woman on the floor having fun with a bunch of cucumbers. Nope ... nothing sexist or objectifying there. And these ads are aimed at women, right?

Comical Print Ad for Glue

For Pattex Glue ... a glue that apparently can frustrate hotel-room-destroying rockers. Ptobably not a bad idea, actually.

Once Again, CA Goes Too Far

A few months ago, in an effort to stem the tide of puppy mills and kitty factories, San Francisco began mulling over the possibility of forbidding canine and feline sales within city limits. That ban has now grown to include just about everything you would ever want to consider having as a pet. Animals under consideration for the ban include birds because of "their sensitivity and inappropriateness as pets," hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas and guinea pigs. The city already has a ban in place on the sale of rabbits.

While there is only one pet store in the city that sells cats and dogs, there are several more that sell birds, mice, hamsters and the like. Suffice it to say they are displeased with the proposal.

Explains one store owner: "If I don't have a bird to sell, I don't sell a cage. I don't sell bird toys. I don't sell seed. But it's about freedom of choice. If someone wants a bird, they'll go to Berkeley. This will solve none of the problems the commission sees." Amen ... now let's see how long it takes for an unregulated black market to emerge in San Francisco.

BrewDog Beer

I wrote about PR-happy Scottish microbrewers BrewDog a while back, and now it's back in the news. This time the company has truly outdone itself; not only creating a "beer" containing 55% alcohol by volume, but which also comes packed inside the carcass of dead rodents ... seriously.

The folks at BrewDog say their rodent-packed potable "is to beer what democracy is to history. The beer is the last high abv beer we are going to brew; the end point of our research into how far we can push the boundaries of extreme brewing, the end of beer."

According to AdWeek, the beer, which has now sold out, was selling at around $760/bottle. The End of History from BrewDog on Vimeo.

Harold Crocker

Harold Crocker has been a fixture at the International Ventriloquist Convention for longer than I can remember. Dale and I first met Harold about 30 years ago and he's definitely one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet.  While everyone who has ever attended the convention knows that Harold once performed for President Kennedy, most are not aware that before that noteworthy gig, Harold appeared on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour ... and he did ventriloquism and ventriloquists proud.

Click here to see Harold at his best.

Marketing with Stories

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

Marketing With Success Stories

Marketing materials, tools and campaigns shouldn't pitch. They should tell stories ... stories of success; stories of redemption; stories of pain and problems that are converted to results and achievement.

Your customers would prefer to listen to stories, especially stories that resonate with their situations, featuring companies or individuals they can relate to and possibly emulate. They want to hear stories of what their future can look like. Pitches and presentations are often dull. Stories bring ideas and outcomes to life. They inspire and drive action.

Find someone who can research and write your company's success stories ... and then use those stories to sell. Click here to go to the B&M website.

How Much Do Those Stickers Cost?

NASCAR is probably the only sport you pay to watch commercials travel in a circle at 200 mph. The cars may look like sticker-crazy 3-year-olds put the sponsors on, but there's a finely tuned method to all that logo madness.

The title sponsor is Sprint. So the the Nascar Sprint Cup Series logo goes on every car (Just in front of the door, above all other logos). Sprint is paying $75 million a year for 10 years.

A team's primary sponsor spends as much as $25 million a season to decorate the hood and rear quarter panel. They also dictate the car's paint scheme.

Competition sponsors, like Goodyear, get their logos on all vehicles that race.

Associate sponsors pay $1 million to $4 million per season to have their logos on the B-pillar or in the area adjacent to the rear tires.

Contingency sponsors control the space on either side of the front wheels for a mere $375,000 a year.

NASCAR To Abandon Racing Portion Of Business, Concentrate On Ads

From The Onion - In a move designed to bring their business closer to its core values, top NASCAR officials announced Monday that from now on, rather than racing to determine a winner, advertising-bedecked cars would slowly circle the track in a noncompetitive marketing parade set to begin with next year's Daytona 500. "Declining revenue made us take a closer look at the sport, and we found that many fans couldn't even see the logos and graphics on cars when all that high-speed racing was taking place," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "Now that we've eliminated the competitive aspect, we're also free to give our fans what they've been asking for: new advertising on the track, flashier ads applied during pit stops, and a safer, more relaxing marketing environment overall." Fans objecting to the move were encouraged to take advantage of NASCAR's wide array of newly available advertising space to voice their concerns.

While We're On Stickers

I don't know why, but The Cheeky have created Suitcase stickers that make it look as if you are smuggling coke, money or abused women in your suitcase. I'm sure airport staff, well known for their sense of humor, just love these.

On the other hand, I think it would be cool to have a sticker that depicts me inside my suitcase (read "home"). Now that would be funny. I'll call Signs and Lines by Stretch to see what they can do.

Unique Movement on Stationery Billboard

Want to get some national attention with your billboard? Add some goats.

This IHOP billboard is near enough to a hill that goats are able to hop up and use it as a place to nap, or just to watch traffic as it passes. And the goats draw a lot of attention ... including local television newscasts.

The farmer who owns the goats says resting on the sign is a daily routine. The owner of the IHOP says that the goats get so much attention that he's offered to give the farmer some free pancakes. What a deal. I wonder who gets to clean the goat stuff off the sign?

Sorry I Missed This

I apologize for letting my readers down by not alerting you to the fact that Aug. 22nd was "NATIONAL GO TOPLESS PROTEST DAY" in honor of Gender Equal Rights. Trust me, if I would have known, I would have been out there offering my support ... so to speak.

Gotopless.org claims constitutional equality between men and women on being topless in public. (Surprise ... there's nudity on their website.)

Call me crazy but I think one of the reasons nudity is exciting is because it's scarce. If everyone walked around nude all the time, our sensitivity to excitement would be dulled even more than it already is. In fact, I think there are a significant number of men who shouldn't be allowed to have their shirts off in public. Maybe next year I'll sponsor a "Keep Your Shirt On Day." But you'll have to wait for the details ... get it?

Only $44 for Premium PBR

When brands go abroad, they frequent decide to take a different market position from their domestic efforts. So that's what Pabst Blue Ribbon, or PBR as it's better known to some, did.

Coveted by some for being the cheapest beer available, PBR has gained cult status in the states. In China however, it's marketed with the line "Heritage classic breakthrough" as seen on a banner on their site, and Danwei says that the bottle will sell for 300 yaun ... that's a whopping 44 US dollars.

The typical price of beer in China is around 5 or 10 yuan.  A company spokesperson said, "The release of Blue Ribbon 1844 is aimed at changing consumers' ideas about beer. The high-end market is occupied by baijiu and wine. Chinese people can afford to drink baijiu that costs tens of thousands, and I believe that a 300-yuan beer won't be a problem either."

Nothing "Subtle" About This

Subtle Butt is a "Disposable Gas Neutralizer." You wear it in your pants. Huh? Man I'm glad I'm a Mannequin American and don't have to deal with issues like this. There's even a video on the website.

Vintage Milwaukee Movie Poster

Here's old-time marketing at its best. Including both "Gayety" and "Men Only" would have a whole different meaning for movie goers today. And who knew they could have "Sexmania" on stage in Milwaukee?

Here Come the Judges

For the second time Dale has been selected to be one of the judges for the Axtell Video Challenge. (He's third from the left in the top row, above.)

This year's Grand Prize is a Animatronic, Hands-Free Tocan Puppet valued at $5,000.  Dale will judge alongside Nina Conti, Mark Wade, Steve Petra, Bob Abdou and other ventriloquists and puppeteers from around the world.

Any amateur or professional performer - of any age may participate. All puppet characters in "Puppet Video" or "Ventriloquist" Categories must be made by Axtell Expressions.  All magic items used in the "Magic" Category must be Axtell magic.

Click here for more information.

Marketing Tip from Brown & Martin, Inc.

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

Marketing Tip from B&M

Marketing tools should avoid focusing on features. Talk about benefits ... results ... outcomes. What you sell is a means to an end. Focus on the end.

Your customers don't want to buy solutions; they want to buy what happens after putting the solution in place. Talk about those benefits and those outcomes. Constantly remind your prospects that you represent more than just a purchase; you represent the achievement of something bigger that will improve their business and/or their lives.

The firm I work for can help. Click here to go to our web site.

Enough Already

I'll admit it ... I typically like ads that use sex for the sake of grabbing attention, entertaining and selling. But even I have a hard time with companies like Calvin Klein that seem to use sex for the sake of ... I don't know what.

For example, everyone has sex in the middle of a playground, right? It's especially true if you're a hard-bodied model. Oh ... it's just a new commercial for Calvin Klein Jeans. And yeah, there's nudity (brief). But it's art. So it's all good, right? Click here to see it.

Axe Rescues Boys From Premature Embarrassment

From Copy Ranter: If you want an example of a marketing success story, Axe is it.

Unilever's Axe/Lynx has unswervingly positioned itself as the fragrance that aids males with the ebb and flow of their bodily fluids. Somehow, mooky manboys the world over have bought into this bullcrap. Now you can smell them coming a block away. I guess it's better than the way they used to smell.

Here's a TV spot for new Axe Full Control that's only running in Argentina ... because people would be up in arms if it ran in the U.S. Click here to see it. It's funny ... in a sick, disgusting way.

Clever Airport Promotion

If you have kids ... or even if you don't ... do you ever get sick of them running around the airport screaming and yelling while you're quietly trying to catch a little shut eye before the next leg of your journey? Well, this promotion for Colorado's FirstBank may not help, but at least it will keep the screaming kids all in one place.

The latest addition to the bank's ongoing "We're here to help" campaign turns a revolving display unit into a children's circular treadmill. At the Denver International Airport, a plexiglas rotating signboard is headlined, "Tire your kids out so they sleep on the plane." Kid-sized handprints appear three-and-a-half feet above the floor, and, above them, the instructions, "Have children place hand here." The signboard makes one revolution every 30 seconds, keeping kids entertained, well exercised and out of trouble.

Signs That Don't Work

I'm pretty sure that Mc Donald's didn't approve this southern franchisee's billboard.

Not sure if this sells fish or not? But it's kinda funny.

My Family Tree

Dale is on the Board of Advisors for Vent Haven Museum, in Fort Mitchell, KY. It's the largest museum in the world dedicated to ventriloquists and ventriloquist memorabilia. Above is one of my predecessors ... Chip Martin the first ... who resides in the museum (Doesn't the young Dale in the photo look like a dweeb!)

Above is an enlargement of the card on Chip #1's chest.

Because Dale is on the museum's Advisory Board, we are occasionally granted some private time to enjoy the museum and its thousands of photos, hundreds of puppets and gobs of memorabilia.

A few weeks ago we toured the facility with other advisors including Jeff Dunham, who posed above with Monty, his first vent figure, which now resides in the museum. If you go to the museum and even touch a figure, you will be shot. But if you're Jeff Dunham, you can pretty much do what you want (kidding). Seriously, Jeff contributes his talents to the museum, refurbishing figures, repairing figures, and restoring figures. That and the fact that he's made monetary contributions to the museum, allows him a few special privileges, like posing for this photo with a puppet that he donated to the museum.


Marketing Tip

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

Marketing Tip

"When corporate management becomes sick of the company's marketing campaign, everyone else is just starting to notice it."

Chip Martin

New SFW Playboy Site ... Why?

The new Playboy safe-for-work site, The Smoking Jacket, launched recently ... but why? I'm pretty sure your boss still won't appreciate paying you while you peruse the site ... especially since one of the navigation buttons is "Sex."

So on your behalf, I spent some time researching the site and found a few interesting tidbits, a few chuckles and a lot of attractive women. If you'd like to check it out yourself before your company's HR department blocks it, click here.

Hef Would Love This

From AdRants: Here's a way to convince younger voters to get out and register ... use porn. To get young people to "Enroll to vote," the print ad asks, "I'm legal, how about you?" Accompanying that witticism is an image that leaves no doubt which double entendre the ad's creators were going for.

Dressed in fishnet stockings and a thong, a "barely legal" woman is cupping her breasts and looking into the camera as if you were the only thing she had on her mind the moment the shutter clicked. (By the way ... do you think this appeals to young women voters? Just a thought.)

The ad comes from the Australian Sex Party, an organization which aims to fight for Australian's sexual rights and personal freedoms and urges the government to keep politicians out of the bedroom.  (If our politicians stayed out of the bedroom, newscasters wouldn't have much to talk about.) 

Don't Open That Casket!

I'm a big believer that well organized open houses can be great marketing tools. However ... a "Fun Day" at a funeral home seems to stretch the envelope a bit.

Similar "Failed" Marketing Attempt

I wonder if there was an Open House event tied to this?

When "Chubbies" Just Meant "Large"

Via Copy Ranter: Some of you may remember a bygone fashion era when large boys could find their clothing in the "Husky" section.  Overweight girls were classified as "Chubbies," and Lane Bryant was (still is?) the go-to store for Chubbettes. How times have changed.

Tax Reductions Set to Expire

I seldom post political news here, but today I'm making an exception. The pro-business tax rate reductions enacted in 2001 and 2003 will all expire on December 31st if Congress does not act to extend them. President Obama and some leaders in Congress support allowing those tax rate reductions to expire for all but middle-income individual taxpayers ... in effect calling for the biggest tax increase in American history. 

Under their proposal, effective January 1, 2011:  

  • the 35% individual tax rate will increase to 39.6%
  • the 33% individual tax rate will increase to 36%
  • the capital gains tax rate will increase from 15% to 20%
  • dividends will no longer be taxed at 15% but at the taxpayer's individual income tax rate with a maximum rate of 39.6% -- a 164% increase!
  • The death tax will rise from zero this year to 55% of all estates over $1 million (obviously catastrophic for family farms and businesses).

Wherever you stand on these tax increases, it's important that your Senators hear from you now.  So please write to them in one of their state offices. You can find contact information here: http://www.naw.org/files/SenDistOffices.pdf

Brad Cummings

Canadian ventriloquist Brad Cummings has appeared in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and venues throughout North America. He's been on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Furgeson and many others. A seasoned professional, Brad received a standing ovation at this year's International Ventriloquist Convention.

Click here to see a clip of Brad on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Here's Rex, Brad, me and Dale at this year's International Ventriloquist Convention. (I appear to be looking at something more interesting ... probably a cute Mannequin American.)

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