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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December 2010 - Posts

I'm At the Rose Bowl


I'm in Pasadena, CA today supporting the Wisconsin Badger football team. (I've been told that I'm going to be used as a tackling dummy later this afternoon.)


The muppets preceeded me to this venue a couple of years ago. So maybe I'll be able to hitch a ride on a float.

I'd like to forgo returning to the frozen tundra of WI until June, but I'll be back next Tuesday with another blog about marketing, PR, puppets and whatever else I think my readers have an interest in.

From everyone at Brown & Martin, Inc. who has a hand helping with this blog, Happy New Year.

Apps for Drinkers

It's almost New Year's Eve and for many, boozy indulgence is right around the corner.

If you plan to imbibe and you're an Android user, I recommend 10001 Cocktails. The app is free and is loaded with enough cocktail recipes to make Don Draper weak in the knees. You can also add your own recipes or save your favorites for easy access.

iPone users can consider Mixologist, a $.99 app that allows you to search for specific drinks or conveniently find what cocktails you can make with what you have in your liquor cabinet and fridge.

If you're going to be brave and attempt to venture out into the masses of partygoers, the app can also locate nearby liquor stores and bars.
Remember to use this newfound technology for the power of good, not evil ... and please be responsible ... use a designated driver.

Now You Can Drink Faster

From our friend Gene Mueller: Click here to see a machine that can pour more than 50 beers in one minute ... from the bottom up! It's pretty cool. The concept alone should attract vendor interest.

The London Daily Mail saids, "The Bottoms Up pouring machine is the brainchild of GrinOn industries, which has manufactured and marketed the cup/disc concept. It's not yet ready for market yet ... but it will undoubtedly catch the eye of any vendor who likes the idea of pouring beer swiftly and consistently.

The technology is relatively simple - a plastic cup with a hole in the bottom is coupled with a magnetic disk that seals the hole after the weight of the fluid is pumped in. I want one!

Art Credit: Jay Johnson

Humor is an Effective Business Communications Tool

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

Humor Can Be an Effective Communications Tool

People respond to humor with their emotions, not with reason.  This means humorous communications are able to slip past left-brained defenses. Messages are received, enjoyed and remembered.

Humor can improve the effectiveness of newsletters, websites, blogs, commercials and virtually all forms of communication. But the levity should not demean the message; it should enhance it.

But using humor effectively is not something everyone is good at. Our firm once lost a long-time client to a much larger agency. Six months later the client returned, explaining that the big agency couldn't replicate the popularity of the newsletter we had produced for distributors. The newsletter had a fictional editor ... imagine that ... and used simple but effective humor to gain attention, entertain and make messages more memorable. We regained the newsletter business and eventually regained the entire account.

Humor creates an emotional attachment and makes messages more memorable. But knowing how and when to use humor takes experience ... and even then it can still be challenging. View copies of our award winning newsletter here. And if you're interested in learning more about how to use humor to improve your communications contact Brown & Martin, Inc. We'll get your message noticed. http://www.bmpr.com/

A Humorous Example

If you're a parent, you'll love this.

To prove the how humor can attract and hold your attention, here's a 30 second spot from NetCom that uses a repeatedly disappointed crying boy to get its point across. You feel sorry for the dad while at the same time laughing at the circumstances that all parents find themselves in at some point.

Click here to see NetCom's humorous message ..."The only fair thing to do is to make the price the same for everyone."

Is This a Good Idea?


Really? An indoor turkey fryer? After Allstate Insurance commercials informed me that 15 people burned their houses down last year while frying turkeys in the garages, I think I'll take a pass on the indoor version.

I Wish I Had Never Seen This

Behold the "true clean towel," which is apparently a real product.

The premise is that you don't want to dry off your face with the same part of a towel you used to dry off your nether regions the day before. And this towel ensures that that won't happen because it shows you what part to use for your "top" and "bottom." It's yours for $19. (There's a video to go along with this product, but the pubic hair in the mouth moment convinced me not to include it.)

More Vintage Ads

Oh Baby! Don't Stop!

Here' an old tri-vision billboard (shows three messages) that appeared in Hollywood for Sauza Conmemorativo Tequila. It's one of my all time favorites because it's funny and because the humor is based on the location ... Hollywood. Brilliant, daring and effective in getting people to talk about the ad.

How Hungry Would Your Family Have to Be?

From 1937, this ad for Van Camp's Pork and Beans caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, the models look like real women ... although they are wearing heels with bathing suits. Maybe that's what they did in the 30's? Secondly, the "Meal-in-a-Minute" sounds downright awful.

"Bean Supper Snack ... Only 8 Cents a Serving

 1) Drain 2 cups Van Camp's Pork and beans 2) To the liquid blend in ½ cup peanut butter and ¼ cup Van Camp's Catsup 3) Fold in beans 4) Chill and serve between slices of corned beef on lettuce with mayonnaise and sliced, stuffed olives."

They lost me at peanut butter and catsup ... then I lost everything at "chill and serve between two slices of corned beef."

Where Does She Belong?

I don't know what this means ... Keep her at your feet? Keep her naked on the floor? Keep her so spaced out that she spends hours just staring at shoes?

I do know that today women would be throwing shoes at this ad.

Puppet Heap

I've written about the on-going video series "Exit Row" by Puppet Heap which features two air sick bags, Chuck and Ralph ... get it? The series is funny, but this episode is especially so. Click here to see Chuck and Ralph in "The Foot."

Merry Christmas from Chip Martin

A Dummy's Puppet's Ramblings - from Chip Martin, Mannequin American. I Post Every Tuesday and Friday.

A Christmas Wish Was Granted

When Dale was in 4th Grade, all he wanted for Christmas was a Howdy Doody marionette ... and that's what he got. From that moment on he was hooked; and he never outgrew his attraction to puppets ... or Mannequin Americans. One gift ... a life changed forever. Sad.

Holiday Laughs with Harvey Nichols

This holiday Harvey Nichols commercial from London is pretty funny. More importantly it's bound to distress PETA.  Click here to see the 30 second spot.  Enjoy.

What I Didn't Get For Christmas


This £17 million yacht that comes with its own supercar. But put your order in now ... there are only going to be 6 pairs of them made. 

When Fairytales Don't End Well

The Most Puzzling Aisle I've Run Across

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from me ...

and from Leslie, Dale and everyone at Brown & Martin, Inc.

On December 27th our firm will be moving into new, larger facilities at 1900 Airport Road, Suite B, Waukesha, WI, 53188. If all goes well my blog will be back to normal next Tuesday.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season.

How to Improve Landing Pages


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

5 Ways to Improve Landing Pages

There's no better (and more efficient!) way to increase the return on your online marketing spend than by improving your landing pages. Here are 5 ways to give your landing pages an instant conversion boost.

1. Have a Clear Call to Action Make sure your call to action is obvious as soon as visitors arrive to your landing page. Don't bury it under long copy or hide it beneath an image. Say it loud and clear: "Subscribe," "Sign Up," "Download" or "Purchase."

2. Use Benefit-Driven Copy, not Product-Focused Copy When you click on an ad, do you want to hear all about a product's features, or all about how a product can help YOU? Make sure your headline, body copy, and bullet points focus on your visitors-not on your product or service.

3. Match the Message of Your Ad With the Message of Your Landing Page This may sound simple, but you must fulfill the promise of the ad with the message of your landing page. If the message is powerful enough to elicit a user to click, you must expand upon that message if you want them to convert.

5. Keep It Simple Keep your landing pages simple and streamlined. Your visitors want to get to their goal in the shortest amount of time possible.

6. Remove Navigation Navigation is a bad way to get visitors to a landing page to convert. If you include the elements of your corporate website, such as navigation and links, on your landing pages, you'll significantly dilute the direct response you want your visitors to take.

Get Your Swagger On

A lot of people have seen Swagger Wagon video by the self-proclaimed "world's greatest parents." If you haven't seen it yet, click here ... it's clever. Toyota's parents have obviously struck a chord with minivan buyers.

Now Toyota is asking you to submit your next-level swagger for a chance to share the stage with the Sienna family in their next music video. You can download the music track and show them what you've got. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

New Ad for Coke Uses Shadow Puppetry

Here's a very clever 30 second commercial that Coke is launching in India featuring Bollywood heartthrob Imran Khan. The ad makes good use of shadow puppetry ... an ancient art that still works to grab attention and entertain.

Speed Camera Lottery

Volkswagon sponsored a "Fun Theory Award" in the UK a while back. The winner, Kevin Richardson, had a pretty nifty idea called "The Speed Camera Lottery." The purpose was to get people to obey the speed limit, and have fun while doing it.

A speed camera was set up to clock cars and let drivers know how fast they were going. Speeders were photographed and sent citations. Drivers who were obeying the speed limit were also photographed and entered into a lottery and could win some of the money provided by the speeders. Brilliant. And it worked in reducing speeders while providing some fun for everyone.

Click here to see a one minute spot about the project. Fun really can change human behavior for the better.

How Mandy Met Donte'

According to Kayak's website, their customers can "find and book cheap flights, airline tickets, (aren't those two things the same?) cheap hotels, vacations and rental cars." The website is pretty straight forward. But the commercial is downright funny.

Click here to see it.

Buy a Truck, Get a Gun

Here's a marketer who knows his audience. A used truck dealer in Florida is offering an assault rifle with the purchase of every truck. Buyers have to pass a background check first. The $400 voucher can be used towards a different kind of gun if they want, or they can get it as cash-back.

The dealership says that business has more than doubled since the promo went into effect on Veteran's Day. The owner told the AP, "My buyer is absolutely a gun owner, no question." Fla. dealership offers free AK-47 for truck buyers [Associated Press]

What Says "Christmas" More than Farting Ornaments?

This pair of "Tootin' Tooshie" Christmas tree ornaments feature a reindeer's rear-end and the wrinkly pink derriere of Santa Claus. If that weren't enough, these ornaments don't just play "Deck the Halls" when you pinch their bottoms... they fart the tune. If you know someone who would like to own these ... you probably shouldn't admit it.

Set Of 2 Tootin' TushieTM Ornaments

Oh, So Wrong Vintage Ads


The Soda Poop Board of America is probably defunct now, and it's not surprising when read what they had to say in the 50's. Dentists, doctors, advocates against childhood obesity and scores of others would undoubtedly flip out over this vintage ad.

Apparently babies were common shills for soft drinks in the 50's. But there didn't seem to be an obesity problem? More active lives and strickter parenting may have had something to do with thwarting that problem.

Whoa! There are so many things wrong with this vintage ad for Love's Baby Soft that I won't go into them. Suffice to say, if the ad ran today it would get plenty of attention ... and not the good kind.


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