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 2011 - Posts

How to Identify Your Value Proposition

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

Find Your Unique Value Proposition

What do you do better than anyone does? What does your company offer that competitors can't match? Why would customers buy your company's product or service as opposed to another's? What is your competitive differentiation? These are all definitions of a critical business concept called "value proposition." If you can't come up with a bullet proof value proposition, then you really need to reconsider your product or service.

No, it's not easy, but this 5-Step process, How to Create a Value Proposition, will help.

UW Brand is Tops

Wisconsinites and alumni of the University of Wisconsin can be proud of the UW brand. (That's "brand" not "band." Although you can be proud of the band too.)

About a week ago Wisconsin social networks blew up with every old friend from college linking to this article on Time‘s website. As the article states, the Global Language Monitor took it upon themselves to rank American universities by brand equity. As Time puts it, the formula used is a measurement of the universities' "buzz" factor. Here are the top 10:

1. University of Wisconsin-Madison
2. University of Chicago
3. Harvard University
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. Columbia University
6. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
7. Cornell University
8. University of California-Berkley
9. Yale University
10. University of Texas-Austin

Puppets Continue Effective Representation of Brands

Puppets continue to be effective representatives for familiar products. The iconic Aussie Roo has been appearing in Aussie shampoo commercials for years now. The puppet was built by Artem in the UK. Some of the commercials are rather clever. Click here to see one of the newest spots.

Speedy is Back

Speaking of iconic characters, Speedy Alka-Seltzer is back in a new commercial. He's been updated a bit ... but he's back.

"Plop, pop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is." We all can sing it, even though Speedy has been gone for decades. Kinda makes you wonder why they ditched him in the first place. Hopefully they'll make him a little edgier than he was in the 60's.

Puppetry on the iPad

iPuppeteer allows you to control a simple, marionette-like puppet on an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Click here to see it work. Another puppet app is Pollock's Toy Theatre, which rides the wave of puppet popularity and tries to take puppet theatre into the digital age.

Three Amusing Print Ads

Here's a clever print ad for Anti-aging skin care from Diadermine. She must use it ... he must not. Simple and effective. I like it.

According to this ad, Head Snowboards enable you to "Jump Higher" ... evidently too high for your own good.

Tagline: Ephydrol Gets Rid of Deadly Foot Odor. Funny.

How To Own an Event

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

Own the Event

Many companies pump a lot of money into far too many tradeshows where they barely register on anybody's radar screen amidst all the glitz, glitter and noise of competitors.

A better way to go is to pick one event ... a tradeshow, conference, whatever ... and own it; or at least make your presence felt by putting all the promotional oomph you've got behind that one arrow. Pre-brief influential media prior to the event, get partners and customers to showcase your product or technology in their exhibits and launch or unveil something new. If you do it right, you can leverage your promotional budget and create a bigger-than-life buzz that will keep working for you long after the event.

Three Ads That Will Make You Smile

Baby Carrots

Brought to you by a bunch of carrot farmers, this 30 second spot for Baby Carrots demonstrates that marketers will fall back on sex to sell absolutely anything.

But the writing is humorous: "Baby carrots. Eat ‘em like junk food. Now in junk food packaging." Funny and sexy. I guess it works.

Sears Optical

Sears is turning to "funny" to promote Sears Optical in this 30 second spot. Humor definitely gets the point across.  The lady needs her eyes examined.

Renault Twingo

More sex mixed with humor. For some reason, Italians viewers were so shocked by this lesbian-themed Renault spot that they managed to get it banned (mostly) from the airwaves.

Actually it's pretty tame ... the women don't even kiss. And the ending is a surprise. So other than featuring lesbians, it's a normal ad that uses sex to grab attention and humor to get you to remember the spot. All it needs is a puppet and it could be the perfect ad.

More Urinal Marketing

Sega is installing urinal gaming systems around Tokyo that allow you to play games with your fluids. A pressure sensor in the urinal measures the strength and location of your flow and sends the feedback to a video screen mounted at eye level. The Toylet system has four different games you can play: "Mannekin Pis," measures how hard you can pee; "Graffiti Eraser," where you act as a fire hose washing graffiti off a wall; "The Northern Wind, The Sun and Me," where you, the deeply perverted north wind, encounter a busty girl in a nice dress (the harder the wind blows, the higher the skirt goes); and "Battle! Milk From Nose," where your urine becomes milk being squirted from a nose, and your squirts are compared to those of the last person to use the urinal.

If you're particularly proud of your pee and carry your USB drive to the bathroom, you can save your scores on the stick for later. Ads are served up in between games. (How long can these Japanese guys pee?)

Advertisers, if you want your product to be associated with urination, do not miss this opportunity. Predictably, one of the ads now running is for beer.

Eat Your Way to an F-Cup

F Cup Cookies are a Japanese phenomenon that promise to increase a lady's chest to F cups. (Note that F cups in Japan are equivalent to DD in the U.S.)

If you send for a shipment you'll receive 14 individually wrapped soy milk-flavored cookies. Then you can begin on your quest for bigger boobs by eating two cookies a day. Each cookie contains 70 calories. The "secret" ingredient for a bigger chest is "50mg of Pueraria Mirifica, an herbal breast enhancer."

For the boob-obsessed out there I suggest you take two weeks of that hard-earned money you could have spent on F Cup Cookies and instead invest in a push-up bra from Victoria's Secret.


Let's "Snackify" Beverages

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

I Want One of These

Forget 3D TVs, tablets, smartphones, and streaming video devices. Here's a robot that not only mops the floor on its own, but can also scrub around the toilet! Now that's progress.

iRobot has introduced the Scooba 230. Only 6.5" in diameter, the device should be able to sneak around and behind the toilet to scrub those places you never want to scrub ... and probably don't. It will also get into all other sorts of nooks and crannies around the bathroom and kitchen. With a $299 price tag this innovative product should be rather easy to market.

 Here's a video. It's pretty cool.

When Real Food Isn't Good Enough

Because healthy food just isn't cool enough for today's youth, the folks at PepsiCo will soon be rolling out amped-up pureed fruit in the form of something called Tropolis.

From the Wall Street Journal: "Tropolis, an 80-calorie fruit puree which comes in brightly colored pouches, will be marketed to moms and kids. PepsiCo's Tropicana unit is rolling out apple, grape and cherry Tropolis pouches in test markets in the Midwest at $2.49 to $3.49 for a four-pack."

Pepsi's CEO said, "We see the emerging opportunity to 'snackify' beverages and 'drinkify' snacks as the next frontier in food and beverage convenience." (Somebody should protect this guy from himself and not let him speak in public.)

A professor of nutrition at New York University used fewer made-up words in her assessment of the product. "They start out with real food, so let's give them credit for applesauce and mashed-up bananas. But the rest of it is sugar.  Kids would be better off eating an apple or a banana."

Yet Another Stupid Product

You need no better sign that Americans will soon have to have robots to do things for them than the "Tush Turner," a swiveling seat cushion that makes it easier to get in and out of your car without all that "contorting." Just sit your ass down and spin in and out. (Isn't that what people do anyway?)

The Tush Turner is $19.99 + $6.99 (that's $26.98). And for just $4.99 more (that's $31.97), you can get a second one for your fat friend. 

Questionable Taste

From AdFreak: For Montreal's Cinéma l'Amour the simple layout and clever headline is sure to attract attention of porn fans. Playing this week: Bubble Butt Belles and Sweet Candy Girls 2. Darn, I missed Slut Puppets 3 in November.

Segal's Penchant for Puppets Reaps Big Reward

Jason Segal of TV's How I Met Your Mother and the film Forgetting Sarah Marshal, is on People Magazine's "Sexist Men Alive" list. Personally, I don't see it ... but the guy likes puppets, so he needs all the help he can get.

Segal is a puppeteer in the movies and in real life, and is currently writing and directing the latest Muppet movie. He'll also star in the movie which will include cameos by scores of other celebrities.

If everyone enjoys being around "puppets" so much, how come I'm not booked next weekend? http://www.dale-brown.com/ (This weekend we'll be at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Madison, WI.)

Why You Need a PR Expert

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

Why You Need a PR Expert

Nobody believes the official spokesperson, but everybody trusts an unidentified source. Quandaries like that can make it difficult for a company to create a meaningful public image, communicate that image to customers and maintain that image. PR professionals can help you get the most effective use from your marketing budget.  They can help you to understand the complexities, distinctions and value of a myriad of communication options.

If you try to go it alone, you'll often end up spending a lot more money and achieving a lot less results.

It's All in the Name

I know that when I hear the words "chicken poop," the first thing I want to do is rub it on my lips.

Chicken Poop is a brand of lip balm and it's just one of the questionably named items on TheGloss.com's list of the 10 Worst Beauty Product Names Ever.

Counterfeit Products Need No Marketing

U.S. Customs in Savannah, Georgia recently intercepted a shipment of 1,783 pieces of counterfeit exercise gear imported from China. The 764 cartons included Shake Weights, Body by Jake, and Total Core. The gear sported counterfeit logos.  So the real products, which are already bogus, are being faked.  I guess you'd get the same benefits from the fake products as you would from the actual products ... because they're bogus in the first place. (I just gave myself a headache.)

In case you don't know what a shake weight is, it's a dumbbell that vibrates back and forth, supposedly toning your arms without you actually having to move them. YouTube is full of parodies of the actual ad ... for the bogus product ... which is being faked.

The Funniest Hot Dog Commercial Ever

If you find a funnier commercial for hot dogs than this "Most Wanted Wiener" by Wienerschnitzel, please let me know. I'm still laughing.

Is This Ad Racist?

I saw this as simply an innocent commercial for Duncan Hines cupcakes.But others see it as racist ... for supposedly showing cupcakes in blackface. A blogger at The Source wrote: "If the icing was in different flavors, or the lips weren't so big and pink maybe we could give the ad a pass, but as it stands it's a pretty poorly constructed and potentially racist ad.

The Boombox goes a step further, saying the cupcakes "clearly resemble racist minstrel imagery."

That interpretation seems to be a stretch to me. But Duncan Hines has already pulled the spot off YouTube. What do you think? (That's what the comment section below is for.)

Signs That Caught My Glass Eye

I don't know where this sign is, but I'm going out to look for the place.

If you can figure out from this sign what percent you'll actually be saving, let me know.

It's cold here in WI, but something about this sign made me feel warm.

Vintage Ad

Is it just me, or does this Textron Menswear ad from the 1940s seem a bit gay? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but a guy in his pajamas pulling another guy in pajamas who's riding on a log and smoking a pipe just struck me as kind of strange. What are they trying to say, for crying out loud?

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