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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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September 2010 - Posts

Comedy Writing Book Available

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

Comedy Writing Book Back in Stock

There's a reason Dale is one of the bestselling authors of "how-to" materials for ventriloquists. I don't know what it is ... but there must be a reason.

In any event, Dale's Book, Writing Original Comedy Dialogs for Ventriloquist Characters is now back in stock and available on his website http://www.dale-brown.com/. The book is a step-by-step, how-to guide for developing characters, writing jokes for those characters and putting together routines for those characters. Dale shares a proven formula for developing original jokes based on your character's personality, experiences and individuality. We have sold out of this book during the last two Ventriloquist Conventions. If you want to improve your ability to develop entertaining scripts, this book is one of the best resources available. So buy it now, while it's in stock.

B2B Ad's Use of Humor Spurs Sales

What's funny about a pressure washer? Turns out that a pressure washer can be pretty darn entertaining.

Manufacturers of industrial products typical shy away from using humor in their marketing efforts. Not so with Hotsy's pressure washer which uses Courageous Carl Payne to go through a series of "man versus pressure washer" challenges to entertain and to sell. The ads are funny enough to have gained a significant following on YouTube.

Click here to see one of the 30 second videos which not only demonstrates that humor can be used to sell B2B products; it also shows that humor can generate enough interest to go viral, creating way more impressions than traditional marketing efforts.  And yes, the company reports that sales are up.

Don't Shop if You're Depressed

If you're depressed or even a little bit sad, keep your wallet at home. That's the advice from experiments conducted by social psychologists at Harvard, Stanford and other universities. Behavioral research studies show that "feeling sad" may cause people to overpay for commodities at the rate of 30-300% more than they otherwise would.

I'm usually depressed because I don't have any money ... so these studies mean nothing to me.

Really? We Needed a Study for This?

Two new studies indicate that if you're looking for a hook-up, a few drinks can suddenly make other people seem more attractive ... and receptive ... than they actually are. Really? We needed to spend money on studies that gave us information that any college kid would have been happy to share for free?

The studies say that the "beer goggle" effect diminishes a guy's ability to detect facial symmetry, a crucial component of what we think of as human beauty. When this sense is dulled, an average-looking face may seem like it belongs to a hottie, according to research in the Alcohol Journal. To make matters even worse, another study shows liquor makes guys more likely to misinterpret a friendly female glance as a bold come-on.

Are These "Cougars" Typical?

Click here to see a 30 second CougarLife.com dating site commercial.

After watching the commercial a couple of things struck me. First of all, many of the women in the commercial don't seem to be "cougars."  And secondly, where did they come up with "Recently voted the Wildest Dating Service in America"?  What does that mean and who voted?

I should start a "Dummy Dating" site. I bet I could make a fortune because there's no end to the number of prospects.

Special Note

By the way, on August 22, eHarmony.com celebrated its 10-year anniversary, thereby outlasting most American marriages by about two years. In honor of this milestone, the dating site premiered its "Love Begins Here" campaign, which included a new commercial, pedicab signage and a giant billboard in Times Square.

Want to Look Cuter? Work Harder

Here's a vintage ad for Kellogg's PEP vitamins. Not too hard to understand why this product didn't survive.

Husbands ... As Long As We're Talking About Wives

Pinocchio Has Gender Issues

From College Humor: Click here to see a short video on Pinocchio's gender issues.


Billboard Tips

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

Marketing Tips for Using Billboards

Billboards are often expensive and generally the domain of large companies. But a good billboard can help build name recognition for local businesses.

Effective billboards have a single message. Motorists only have 2-4 seconds to see and comprehend the message, and they typically can't write a phone number or website address down. Therefore, the words may not sink in as much as the "visual" impact of the billboard. Here are some simple rules for making your outdoor advertisement effective:

  • Use a striking visual - and not one of yourself. Remember a basic rule in sales - It's not about YOU, it's all about THEM.
  • Keep text to 8 words or less. Those that are witty, short and clever stand to stay with people longer.
  • Choose your location - make sure it's lighted and is not competing with another billboard above or below it.
  • Select a vinyl that wraps around to make your ad appear large than just a paper or paint billboard.
  • Remember that billboards tend to market to middle-to-upper income demographics.
Too Bad


Six months after Lindsay Lohan filed a $100 million lawsuit against E*Trade for its Super Bowl ad which used the name "Lindsay," calling the character a "milkoholic," the Hollywood Reporter says that the case has been settled.

To bad. The commercial was really funny (click here to see it) and I don't know why E*Trade waved the white flag.  The commercial is still on You Tube. Exact figures of the settlement were not disclosed.

Remember This? It Hasn't Changed.

Finish this line: "All my men wear English Leather, or they ... " That was the tagline for English Leather in the 60's and it's the tagline today. Nothing has changed.

Click here to go to a web site that is like stepping back in time ... before there were websites. The site claims that English Leather has been "Your wingman for over 40 years." Or, said another way ... it may be ideal for cougar hunting.


And click here to see a schmaltzy 1980's English Leather commercial featuring quarterback Doug Flutie.

But seriously, if Old Spice can vault into the 21st Century, why can't the king of soap on a rope?

Unusual Marketing Strategy for Cool Kenmore Technology

New Kenmore washer/dryers come equipped with a very cool, high-tech feature: when they have a service issue, you can dial the service number, press some buttons on the machine and then hold the phone up to the washer/dryer and it will transmit troubleshooting data directly through the phone to the company. The service department will know exactly what's wrong with your machine before they ever get there.

The interesting marketing twist is that Sears put this technology in the washer/dryers without telling shoppers that that was what they were buying. Buyers only found out recently via letter.  It would make you think you were really smart and really fortunate to have selected the Kenmore brand, wouldn't it?

Willy Wrappers

What can I say ... I'm a sucker for condom humor ... and the name of this website slays me ... Willy Wrappers. If you're in the market for a "Willy Wrapper" just click here to go to the web site.

Or you can click here to see the 30 second "History of Protection." Yes, that is a walking Willy in the picture from the video.

Interesting Stats

Ads That Caught My Glass Eyes


In case you didn't know, "Your Gas Entertains No One". There's a whole series of these ads, but I'll spare you by only posting two.

Nobody Takes More Off

Get it?! She's taken her clothes off to draw attention to the fact that the store takes "up to 70% off" on the stuff that it sells. Get it?! Yeah ... it's pretty lame.

Don't Be A "Sue"

This entertaining 30 second commercial, titled "Don't be a Sue," first aired during the Glee season 2 premiere. I like it because I pretty much like anything "Sue" has to say ... even when it's meant to be tongue in cheek.

The ad is for the Members Project sponsored by American Express. You can visit their site here: http://www.takepart.com/membersproject


Last weekend Dale's daughter, Lauren, (left) was a bridesmaid in Natalie (right) and Wes' wedding.  Congrats to the newlyweds.  I understand the wedding and reception were awesome.  It's hearsay because I wasn't invited.  In fact, I've never been invited to a wedding. Imagine that.

Growing Female Vodka Market

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

How Many Types Of Vodka Do We Need?

Proximo Spirit recently announced that singer Lil' Kim will front a campaign for the company's Three Olives vodka brand which is introducing a new flavor, Purple.

But really, will yet another "Ladies Only" vodka make it? Diva Vodka (above) was packaged with real Swarovski Crystals on the bottle (emulating a stripper pole?). That women-targeted brand crashed and burned along with several others over the past couple of years.

Now Van Gogh Vodka has vaulted into the market with Van Gogh Blue. The brand already has social media support behind it (a facebook page and twitter account) and an advertising campaign with an edgy sense of humor. "Come unbottled with the only premium triple wheat vodka that's guaranteed to be smoother than most of the men you meet out at the bars."

Van Gogh Vodka is already a well established brand and this particular release is the eleventh vodka from the distillery. Also they have a very large US distribution, not to mention ad advertising budget of one million dollars. These facts coupled with the social media efforts may just make this female-specific vodka work.

So put away those wine spritzers, girls, and raise a glass of Van Gogh Blue.

Amusing TV Spots That Caught My Glass Eyes

Foot Locker

Double entendres abound in the 30 second "Art Class" spot for Foot Locker. The spot features a purportedly nude male model, being described by students. Some funny lines. Click here to watch.

Burger King

It's not unusual for Nascar stars to show up in their sponsors' ads, but how many will work a shift flipping burgers as Tony Stewart appears to have done for Burger King? And Tony has a good sense of humor, which comes through in the two-minute video. Some guests recognize him, even though he looks like a regular schlub behind the counter; others don't.

The video received 1.8 million views last week. It's part of Burger King's "Sign & Race" campaign, which allows fans to enter to have their signature placed on the Burger King logo on Mr. Stewart's car, and share the image on Facebook and Twitter.

Click here to see the entertaining video.


Starburst has been advertising itself lately as a contradiction ... a solid candy that's also juicy, like a liquid. The tag is used in a new 30 second commercial in the U.K. where a zombie claims, "You're boring me to death, and I'm already dead." I love it when a product mocks itself. Click here to see the ad.

Aging Nudists Defy Gravity

To raise money for a breast cancer charity, 102 British nudists made a bouncy attempt to break the World Record for naked rollercoaster riding at Essex's Adventure Island amusement park. Image via Splash. That means there already was a world record for naked rollercoaster riding, right?! Here are my questions:

1.    Who was the first person who thought that was a good idea?

2.    How did he/she convince a rollercoaster owner to let them ride naked?

3.    Why wasn't I invited?

Marketing at Airports

Las Vegas does some the best ambient marketing. Above, part of a Lance Burton illusion rotates on a luggage carousel.  It generates attention, inquisitive touches and photos. I'm guessing it also generates ticket sales.

Chimp Disappears but Still Sells Dodge

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

"People do not buy what they do not know about. That's why companies use marketing. At least the smart ones do."

Chip Martin, Marketing Guru

Dodge Makes a Chimp Disappear

Now this is really funny. From AdFreak: At first I was very disappointed that Dodge caved in to PETA's complaints and altered its 24 second commercial in which a chimp in an Evel Knievel costume detonates a bunch of confetti. Monkeys historically help to make commercials entertaining and that's what this chimp did. I mean, look at the picture above. It's funny.

But when I saw how Dodge altered their commercial ... it was even funnier. And they "stiffed" PETA in a manner that can't legitimately be objected to.

Check out the original version here and the revised version here.  Seriously, it's worth a view (Dale's daughter says, "It's awesome.") Read more of the back-story at the Los Angeles Times.

Best Store Display ... Ever

If you've ever wondered what Super Mario would look like constructed from roughly 300 cases of soda pop, wonder no longer. This may start a whole new trend in in-store displays.

At least I hope it does.

One Mad Men Sponsor Gets It

I'm a fan of Mad Men. But I'm constantly perplex as to why more sponsors of that Emmy Award-winning program don't create better commercials that take advantage of the show's premise, and thus become more memorable and effective.

Unilever seems to be the only company that gets is. Six Mad Men-style commercials have been created for Unilever products to air during Mad Men this season. These unique vignettes feature a fictional advertising agency, Smith Winter Mitchell, to promote Dove, Breyers, Hellman's, Klondike, Suave and Vaseline.

The commercials are brilliant and mesh so well with the show that some viewers may think they're part of the plot. Click here to view the special 30 second Hellmann's ad and you'll see why I like the concept. As I said, "Brilliant."

Who Do We Blame?


We apparently don't already know that McDonald's and other fast foods aren't good for us. So a non-profit physicians' group in Washington, D.C. which pushes a vegetarian agenda, has funded an ad that directly links McDonald's to heart disease.

Click here to see the commercial that aired during The Daily Show and local news broadcasts yesterday. It features a corpse in a morgue. The dead guy is holding on to what appears to be a half-eaten Big Mac. McDonald's famous golden arches are then superimposed over an image of the dead man's feet with the words "I was lovin' it" replacing the McD's "I'm lovin' it" slogan.

Seems a bit unfair to single out and target Mc Donald's.  No one forces McDonald's to build and operate all of those Ronald McDonald Houses all over the country ... benefiting thousands of families. And no one forces the rest of us to stuff our faces with Big Macs. McDonald's is not the problem. The problem is an inability to accept or recognize individual responsibility. It's just easier to blame someone else versus putting the responsibility where it belongs ... on individuals.

Are All Magazines Starting to Look Alike?

Is it just me or does it seem that magazines have reached the point where all publications are emulating Maxim and Playboy with sexy young women exposing themselves on the covers to attract consumers' attention? (And for the record, I'm not complaining.)

In any event, according to Ad Age it's not working. Total combined subscription and single copy U.S. magazine sales in 2009 were down 6 percent from 2008, and at their lowest level since 1985, according to Magazine Publishers Association figures.

Print Ads that Caught My Glass Eyes

Via CopyRanter: With the clever tag line, "We don't judge. We frame." this campaign for Miami frame shop "Frame On Wheels" has potential. But they should use more bizarre portraits to get attention. And I'm not a fan of "wood" frames. My uncle was framed. Actually, he was a frame.

You Won't Believe This

The next time you're waiting in an airport security line, asking yourself, "Where do they find these TSA people?" here's the answer.

Apparently the TSA is hiring, so they needed to advertise. Anyone who knows anything about advertising knows that the goal is to get the right message to the right audience. The TSA thought that the best way to reach the best and brightest candidates would be to place ads on ... wait for it ... the top of pizzas boxes. (Thoughtful pause...)

Apparently their ideal employee is someone who is too lazy to leave the house to get food. Are they trying to attract fat, pale slobs that do nothing but sit on their bean bags and play video games all day? There's a reason the FBI, CIA, etc. do not put job postings in dumpsters or strip clubs. But it seems that the TSA is going for the lowest common denominator. Scary to think that that's exactly what they're going to get. 

Fishing Retailer Makes Pitch With Man-Babies

From AdFreak: I typically don't like babies because they're needy, wrinkled, self-fouling whiners who cry a lot. (I dislike old people for the same reasons.)That means I have two reasons to dislike this Okuma "Born to fish" campaign which disturbingly combines tykes and coots. The tagline simply reads: "Okuma. Kiwi for fishing." Did I mention that I don't like fishing either?

Sign of the Day

As kids head back to "school" this highway caution sign gave me reason to smile. I think the government employee who painted the sign needs to be sent back a grade.

Introducing the Beer Popsicle

Beat the heat with this cheap and cool treat, the beer popsicle. The Diablo Royale Este saloon in New York takes a Tecate beer, injects it with simple syrup and lime juice, then jams a wooden stick in the can hole and freezes it. Four days later, they pull it out and saw it open with a serrated steak knife. Sounds awesome!  Introducing the Beer Popsicle [Urban Daddy]

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