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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 2010 - Posts

Is B2B Social Media a Waste of Resources?

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

Is B2B Social Media a Waste of Time and Resources?

Social media is not the panacea that its boosters claim, nor the waste of time and resources its critics believe. Let's take a step back and acknowledge we're in the formative stages of a nascent industry. Currently many of the self-appointed social media "gurus" are little more than online shakedown artists, often with very little marketing experience. Unfortunately, too many of them are making a lot of money at clients' expense.   

Some marketers can draw a straight line between investments in social media marketing and financial results, but many more cannot. Facebook fans, retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings and vibrant communities aren't reflected on a balance sheet and can't be counted on an income statement ... but that doesn't mean they are valueless. Often times they are leading indicators that a company is doing something to create value that will eventually help to generate sales.

Proceed with caution ... but proceed, or be left behind.

News Anchor Barbie

Here comes Mattel's News Anchor Barbie. Her tagline: "A flair for journalism - and power pink!"

I have a degree in journalism ... sort of ... and I think nothing says professional journalist like stacked heels with ankle straps and petal-pink bows. At least they got one detail right: the all-important journalism folder emblazoned with the reporter's name on it in case she forgets.  (For the record ... I'd date her.)

Milwaukee's Hiawatha

A recently passed Wisconsin law allows residents to challenge school mascot names they contend promote a negative racial stereotype, typically of American Indians. (Remember when the Marquette Golden Eagles were the Marquette Warriors? Warriors are defined as those "experienced in or capable of engaging in combat." No mention of American Indians. They could have kept the name and changed the mascot.)

It's interesting to me that no one has pointed out that since 1935 The Milwaukee Roads' Amtrak train has been named the "Hiawatha." As the vintage ad above indicates, Hiawatha is rich in folk lore ... as are, I presume, the American Indian pictured in the ad and the one used as a logo. To use words from the ad, no one has "gone on the warpath" about that. I'm just saying ... 


This ad was probably considered "cute" in the 60's. Today it would be offensive.

Ford Named Marketer of the Year

From Ad Age: Ad Age recently named Ford "Marketer of the Year." That's pretty impressive considering the company lost $14.6 billion in 2008. One of the keys to Ford's resurgence was turning down government TARP funds.

When asked just how much declining TARP funds was worth, Ford marketing chief Jim Farley said, "I think it was worth more than $1 billion of coverage and customer interest." An Oct. 1 Rasmussen Reports survey, for example, found 55% of survey respondents said they are more likely to buy a Ford because the company did not take TARP funds; a stunning figure nearly 18 months after the fact.

Ford's U.S. yearly sales are up 17% through August, which is more than double the industry-wide gain of 8.4%. Ford's $4.7 billion profit in the first six months of this year is the company's largest since 1998.

Remember When ...

It's one thing to chuckle at the casual sexism of Mad Men-era advertising. But as Chevrolet is learning, it's another thing to revive it. At the auto brand's official store, you can currently buy an Impala art poster that says, "Remember when your cup holder sat next to you and wore a poodle skirt?"

Ah yes, more nostalgia for a time when men were men and women were useful accessories. The image has been streaking across the Web, sparking detractors and defenders. Lighten up people.

Crime Stoppers Get What They Pay For

Crime Stoppers has enough money to finance a nationwide marketing campaign, but apparently they couldn't spend a couple of extra bucks to get a one-of-a-kind professional Mannequin American to appear in their ads instead of the mass produced dime store version pictured above. Come on Crime Stoppers ... don't be so cheap ... I've got rent to pay.


When an Ad is not an Ad ... or is it?

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

When an Ad is not an Ad ... or is it?

You may remember a couple years ago when some director released what he called a "banned Guinness ad." It was a spec piece, hoping to catch the attention of the Irish brew maker. In the ad, a woman is used as a human coaster, her body gently rocking back and forth. We see only her mid-section while three separate hands reach for the bottle, presumably take a swig, then return it to her undulating form, the bottle staying balanced in the small of her back. Clearly she's supposed to be in the throes of a four-way.

(click here to see the video ... NSFW)

Guinness and its agency were very quick to denounce the ad, saying, "Guinness is in no way associated with this video, and approached YouTube to have it removed. We are proud of our brands, and our commitment to responsible marketing, and this is not how we want our brand portrayed."

Fine. Nice job. Appropriate PR move. Never mind that the ad is back on YouTube, with 1.5 million views this time around. Guinness may not approve of the ad, but it knows the value of 1.5 million views of its product.


Here's somethign to start your day off with a laugh. Ever get up in the middle of the night to have a little snack and end up making so much noise you wake up your partner? Well the guy in this Frosty Jacks Cider commercial makes a lot of noise ... and most of it comes from my laughing hysterically. It's wrong, but it's oh, so funny! Click here to see it.

Bizarre Dating Websites

From BuzzFeed ... here's a list of some of the most bizarre dating websites. They're all real. Click here for links to any of the websites.

Stoner Dating
Amish-Online-Dating (whose computers do they use?)
Ayn Rand Dating (for readers of Ayn Rand)
Big and Beautiful Dating
Crazy Blind Dating
Adult Diaper Dating (don't ask)
World of Witchcraft Dating
Dwarf Dating
Farmer Dating
Horse People Dating
Vampire Dating
Dating People with Mental Health Problems
Pieced Dating
Tattooed Dating
Furry Dating (for furries)
Cat People Dating
STD Dating
Sugar Daddy Dating
Star Trek Dating
Prison Dating (women behind bars)
Zombie Dating

Again ... no sites for Mannequin American Dating. I need to start working on that.

What's a "Boob Zag"?

From Copyranter: This bit of boobvertising gets your attention ... and probably makes you smile ... maybe even laugh. It was used to launch instant messaging site ooVoo. The young lady's innocent little comments help to set things up. (I'd never heard of a "boob zag" before this.) Click here to see the one minute video. SFW I think.

Self-Service Wine Tanks

Wine ... basically fancy aged grape juice. It's typically bought in bottles ... sometimes found in jugs ... occasionally purchased in cans or plastic bladder-equipped boxes. You may soon be able to take it home in whatever type of container you have handy.

Self-serve wine tanks could be hitting American supermarkets within a year. These 500 and 1,000 liter mechanical kegs dispense wine into whatever container the shopper brings with them.

By getting rid of the packaging, the wine can be shipped much cheaper. The savings get passed on to you with lower prices, and supposedly the wine tastes pretty good too.

Fill 'er up!

Recognize This Vent?

In catalogs from the 1950's the Mannequin American on the left was named Terry.  (One of those creepy leather mouthed puppets with no slots in his jaw.) I don't know what name he was given by his vent partner ... Ted Knight.

As a vent, Knight had a televised children's show early in his career ... before MTM and Caddy Shack.

Are Lingerie Ads Aimed At Men or Women?

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

Do Women Buy This Stuff?

If you're young, attractive and female, you could earn $500 for appearing on Agent Provocateur's website.

A Craigslist ad reads, "Seeking fit girls under 25 for lingerie vignettes similar to what you now see on Agent Provocateur's site archives. Each little video has a particular style or theme from a police line up to a dinner party. These will be used on the client site as well as large video displays in a guerrilla shop in October."

Obviously I know nothing about selling lingerie. After watching ... I mean "studying" the soft core vignettes several times, it seems to me that videos would appeal to men much, much more than to women. Oh. I get it. Women don't buy this stuff ... they get it as gifts from men. Duh. Okay guys ... you'll like the videos. Click here to see them.

People Swear by it ... And at it

It's counterintuitive to try and make money by talking up the lousy flavor of your product. But that's what Canadian cough syrup company Buckley's has successfully been doing for a long time and continues to do in a new series of commercials.

Company owner Frank Buckley touts the terrible flavor of the syrup, noting that the product is "not new, not improved and feared by more people than ever before.  People swear by it. And at it." Buckley's comes in a range of appalling varieties including camphor, pine needle oil and tincture of capsicum.

In this commercial a blindfolded person can't discern the difference between Buckley's and a public restroom puddle, saying, "I can't tell. They must be made by the same people." Now that's funny.

The campaign was by all accounts a huge success: advertising awards galore, and a 10 percent kick to Buckley's Canadian sales.

Get Your Face on a Billboard in Times Square

Corona Light is dangling an interesting offer. "Like" the brand on Facebook, and your photo will soon appear on a 150-foot digital billboard in Times Square. The beer brand is collecting the photos now and will run them on the board from Nov. 8 to Dec. 6. (You can set it up to automatically post a photo showing your image on the board after it appears.)

It will be interesting to see how the effort draws in fans for the brand, which currently has 38,000 Facebook Likes.

If You Want to Smell Like Musty Old Books

You ever walk into a library; take a deep breath and say, "I should bottle this."? Someone did.  I have no idea why.

Billboard Draws Too Much Attention

Local Milwaukee agency BVK put up a billboard in Sioux Falls, S.D., showing a car-accident scene ... with smoke from one of the vehicles rising above the ad and into the sky, thanks to a smoke machine hidden behind the structure. The billboard promotes Avera emergency medical services.

The agency reports: "It worked, driving thousands of people to go online in the first week of the campaign." It also drew an unintended consequence. After numerous calls to 911 the local fire department decided to shut the smoke machine down. But the billboard gained a lot of internet attention ... which is sometimes the point ... right?

Ads That Caught My Glass Eyes


Taking advantage of ample shade, this ad for Fosters says, "Well, You Wouldn't Want a Warm Beer, Would You?"

The husband in this ad is presumably "Giving Back Her Dreams" by using Asonor, an anti-snoring spray.

Another Closeted Ventriloquist

Recognize the famous comedian/actor in this photo ... with his Mannequin American partner, "Danny the Dummy?"

Yes, he's that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred his nervousness into a successful career and still holds the record for the most Emmy's given in a single category. The gifted, talented, and nervous comedian who brought us Barney Fife, Jesse Don Knotts, was first a ventriloquist. Thanks to Mr. D's Blog.

Humor and Storytelling are Valuable B2B Marketing Tools

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

Never Have Humor and Storytelling Been so Valuable

B2B marketers have long triggered emotion and action by using humor and storytelling in their sales efforts. Now, with the ability to "share" just a click away, never has either skill been more important ... because when people see something they enjoy, they want to share it with others on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Blogs, etc. And that means the power of your message multiplies with popularity.

Do elements of your marketing include stories that others will want to share? 

The Only Dog I Like

If you want a laugh today, watch this 30 second commercial for Thinkbox, the marketing arm of the U.K's top broadcasters. The ad stars Harvey the dog. And Harvey is funny! I'm generally not fond of dogs (again, I used to be a tree) but Harvey won me over. It's funny!

"I'll Be Yawning"

What is left to explain about FedEx that people don't already know? Nothing. But the company has to continue to keep its brand in front of people to keep them from defecting to the competition. Anyway, here is a pretty funny 30 second spot for FedEx. At least marketing people will find it funny. "I'll be yawning. I'll be yawning some more."

Every Ad Needs a Whiffleball Bat

Three new 30 second spots for Auto Lenders have been making the rounds of marketing blogs lately ... so why not here, too? The company was told by its ad agency that their ads needed to be more entertaining. So they listened.

Click here to see the first of the funny ads that take advantage of poor Stanley. (Note the kid in the lower left of the video still above.)

3-DD Billboard for Wonderbra

Via AdFreak: Wonderbra, that tireless seeker of new ways to make breasts look larger, has unveiled the next logical step in its advertising evolution ... a 3-D billboard in London which reportedly makes Brazilian model Sabraine Banando's breasts really pop when viewed through the proper glasses.

Of course passersby will need to be sporting 3-D glasses to experience the full effect of the Full Effect. I get the concept, but I'm not sure people will don 3-D glasses in public to stare at boobs on a billboard when they can stare at a whole lot more online without fear of being labeled perverts.

Road-safety experts are already worrying that the billboard could cause traffic accidents ... much as Wonderbra's famous 1994 "Hello Boys" billboard with Czech model Eva Herzigov√° supposedly did.

Axe Cleans Your "Equipment"

(Note: I know there appears to be a kind of sexual theme building here today, but these things seem to run in bunches ... notice I avoided "pairs".)

Don't play with dirty equipment. How can guys clean their equipment so it's easier to play with? The double-entendres never end with this new AXE video.

Tickle Your Fancy

(Note: Alright, there's definitely a sexual theme today.)

Via Copyranter: Technically, I think this is SFW, but it's your workplace, so use your own discretion. (The commercial includes a cloud that looks like a penis ... so on second thought, I guess it's NSFW.) I know for sure that the ad will get your attention, keep your attention and at the end you'll say to yourself ... what the heck were they selling? Click here to be amused and confused.

Do Women Clean in Their Underwear?

(I've decided to just blatantly run with the theme. NSFW)

Here's a video for unmentionables brand Damaris. NSFW because the "end" credits roll over the models bare bottom. Do women really clean the house in their underwear?

According to this commercial (SFW) from Japan, women bowl in their underwear. Believe it or not, the ad is for Esthe Wam, a hair removal product. The ad seems lame, but the ending is kinda funny. More importantly, Japan must be a crazy country.

If you're intrigued, here's another Esthe Wam commercial that actually made me laugh out loud. Really it did. But I like to see innocent people in pain.

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