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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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April 2011 - Posts

Improve Trade Show Traffic


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

Tips for Improving Trade Show Returns

Trade show participation is an expensive undertaking. But most companies spend far more on exhibits and show services than connecting with prospects and customers or nurturing prospect relationships after they return to the office. As a result, trade shows often fall flat when it comes to measurable ROI.

The good news is that with proper preparation, and by adding a lead-nurturing component to the back end of trade show initiatives, marketers can turn questionable trade show expenditures into solid demand-generation investments.

Achieving and maintaining visibility with prospects is one of the most important lead generation tactics for a B2B company. Trade shows are an excellent way to do this. Trade shows also provide opportunities to connect with existing customers, media, industry analysts, investors and suppliers.

If you want to draw a lot of traffic and connect with prospects add a Mannequin American to your exhibit. We:

  • Attract attention
  • Disseminate information in a memorable manner
  • Quickly qualify prospects for your sales people
  • Make your brand and your exhibit unforgettable to visitors long after the show is over

Click here for more information about "trade show dummies." 

WD-40 is Consistent in Effective Marketing

For a long time WD-40 has had one of the most interesting, informative and entertaining websites around. Listing more than 2,000 uses for its product, the site offers information in a manner that is as engaging as it is enlightening. (Did you know that you can spray WD-40 on your window ledge to keep birds away? It works. I've done it.)

Recently the company introduced new print and online ads that are as edgy as the company's website. Well done.

Tick Your Neighbors Off by Turning Your Home into a Billboard

"We're looking for houses to paint. In fact, paint is an understatement. We're looking for homes to turn into billboards. In exchange, we'll pay your mortgage every month for as long as your house remains painted."

That's the business offering from mobile ad network AdZookie. The company plans to turn houses into gigantic billboards.  

Yes, this is what it's come to. Advertising is everywhere. And you can cash in on it if you don't mind being hated by your neighbors who will undoubtedly initiate measures to get laws passed to prohibit such thing.

Mentos Finally Makes Me LOL

"May we all live the fresh positive Mentos way of life," says a character in this commercial. The "Mentos way of life" is apparently full of pain, hardship and slapstick ... but it's funny!  This new commercial from Mentos is bound to upset some people... which makes me like it even more.

Bosom Max

I'm just a Mannequin American, so I don't know about such things ... but the Bosom Max website claims its vibrating brazier will enhance a woman's bust size. Click on the link to see a video demonstration.

Or you can click here to see Jennifer Aniston trying out a competing vibrating bust enhancer on Ellen's TV show.

The Results of Too Much Celebrating Hasn't Changed

She's a party girl ... he's a stick-in-the-mud. But according to this vintage ad, Alka-Selltzer can help. "Thousands have told us how much Alka-Seltzer does for them under these conditions." (... indulged in too much liquor).

"Our love has turned to ashes," because he celebrated his football team's victory. Bromo-Seltzer makes the same claims as Alka-Seltzer in this ad. But it goes one better ... "This Bromo-Seltzer will bring you to your senses." Good luck with that ... he's a guy.

Because You Never Know Where Willy Has Been

Introducing Willy the tourist ... and he has a lot of frequent flier miles.  All to remind you to protect yourself from Aides ... because you never know where Willy's been.  (The video has no words, but I guess it's slightly NSFW because, well ... he's a penis.)

Dumbstruck ... Say Hello to my Little Friends

Dumbstruck follows five ventriloquists at all levels of ability over the course of a year, letting you see into their lives both on stage as well as behind the scenes. (Yes, some of them are a little strange.) Entertaining, thought provoking, and, well... you just have to see it.

If you live near locations of one of the upcoming screenings, make plans to check it out: Atlanta, GA, Washington, D.C., New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Dallas, TX, Indianapolis IN, Minneapolis MN, and St. Louis, MO. For further details and locations: http://www.dumbstruckthemovie.com/ .

Watch for Dumbstruck, the movie coming to your area. Or watch for its release on DVD. You can view a trailer HERE, now.

What Could Your Husband Do In 60 Seconds?


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

What Could Your Husband Do in 60 Seconds? (Besides that ...)

MySky, "TV on Your Terms," uses an amusing spot that suggests "60 things in 60 seconds your husband could do instead of watching TV," because now he can record shows to watch later.

It's actually pretty funny and a pretty darn effective commercial.

This Picture is Worth at Least a 1,000 Words

If you want to see a dream sequence involving a milkmaid stepping out of a picture to make love to man in another picture ("He is a bad lover.") ... this commercial is for you.  It's for the pharma brand, Help Remedies. (The old Rozerem spots with Abe Lincoln and the beaver, which went down a similar path, seem downright staid by comparison.)

For the record ... I don't get it. But it made it to my blog so I guess the "oddness" of it must have some attention-getting value.

The ads will be shown on demand in hotels, in-flight, in 24-hour drugstores, on late-night TV, online, on a mobile website and on Duane Reade's screens in New York's Union Square.

Banned Ad Seems to be Selling More Than Game

From Ad Freak: This commercial for Serena Williams's butt was never meant to see the light of day. Oh, sorry, actually it's for a tennis video game called Top Spin 4 ... my mistake.

The company behind the ad, 2K Sports, decided not to air it. But then, apparently unhappy with that decision, the other actress in the ad posted it herself on YouTube. According to Joystiq. "This video is not part of the title's final marketing campaign and its distribution was unauthorized," 2K Sports says. Meanwhile, it keeps getting lots of hits on YouTube. (Hopefully the approved finished commercial will show some of the actual game versus just using sexy shots of Serena.)

The Ultimate Booby Prize

A Surfers Paradise nightclub is promoting breast enlargement surgery as a prize in a controversial lottery, which has infuriated body image experts, women's groups and plastic surgeons.

Sin City Nightclub launched posters of well-endowed, lingerie-clad women holding a sign saying "Win a boob job worth $10,000." Nightclub owner Jamie Pickering said male and female patrons at the April 3 Ibiza-themed party at the heart of the promotion would be given scratchable-style tickets that would give them either minor prizes, or, if their scratchable dictated, a chance to enter the ticket in the barrel for the 'boob job' draw.

However, a disclaimer on the promo poster states the prize is actually $10,000 cash, with the nightclub simply suggesting a boob job as a way to spend the windfall.

Gross Ad of the Day

This ad for Sanitol hand sanitizer says "When you touch him, you touch everything he's touched." Do we really need to be shown what he may have touched? I guess it could be worse. I wonder how thrilled the models were to get this gig?

Rico the Puppet is Back

Snoop Dog and Rico are laying down some rap rhymes to promote Air New Zealand. The little character is offensive ... but Air New Zealand doesn't seem to mind. I guess this is slightly NSFW because of a couple of words.

Defeat Meeting Attendees' Short Attention Spans

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

How to Defeat Meeting Attendees' Short Attention Spans


"People who frequently check their email test less intelligent than people who are high on marijuana." - Sam Anderson.

Huh? Wait. What did that quote say? Let me turn off my phone and read that again.

You don't think that's true? Look at the photo above. The guy's at a conference checking his iPhone for email, phone messages, text messages or his Twitter feed. He's got his laptop open and from the screen it's obvious that he's not taking notes. He has open what appear to be two social streams on the computer screen. Meanwhile, the thing he paid $700 to see and hear is happening 30 yards away and just out of his line of sight.

I call this syndrome, "continuous partial attention." Or "The hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither." In trying to pay attention to everything, we pay attention to nothing.

Unfortunately, true intelligence and true creativity require laser-beam focus ... and many of us are losing the ability to "focus."

So if you're responsible for an employee meeting, distributor meeting, association conference or even a banquet, know this: Powerful, persuasive and engaging presenters are crucial if you want your audience to pay attention and take anything away from your event.

Audiences are tuning out because there is too much stuff out there competing for their attention. Those responsible for meetings and conferences must go out of their way to make sure their programs are as engaging as they are informative.

Here's an idea ... hire a Mannequin American and his partner to deliver serious messages in a memorable, attention-keeping and entertaining manner. Hey, if it's been successful for JI Case, John Deere, Kohler Co., JC Penney, Equitable and scores of others, it should be good enough for you. Click here for more information.

Kit Kat Dummy

Above, one of my distant cousins, Crash Test Dummy KKC081, touts his affinity for Kit Kat candy bars. Being a crash dummy is a tough way to make a living; so I'm glad he's able to supplement his income with some work promoting his favorite snack. If you can't see the YouTube link above, click here.

Specsavers is Funny Again

Commercials for Specsavers are almost always funny ... and this one is no exception. Click on the YouTube video above or click here for the 30 second spot.  

University of Wisconsin Elevator Invaded by Fanta

Fanta recently invaded the elevators at the Lucky private residential building on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Where better to target a youth audience than at the hardest-partying college in the known world. (Although UW did slip to number 5 on Playboys' list of Top Ten Party Schools.)

Anyway, I'm going to let this video speak for itself. If there's one student body you can count on to turn any elevator ride into a "Jump Around," it's the Badgers.

Advertising on a Straw?

From copyranter, here's a great example of service appropriate advertising on a flexible straw for a Yoga Center. Very clever.

Just Find My Luggage! I'm In It!

The ad above was placed by Iberia Airlines at Pinto Martins airport in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil to promote direct flights to Madrid. Olé! To make it more realistic maybe they should have used a picture of a black hole, because that's where a lot of luggage ends up.

Humans are Getting Closer to Starfish

Researchers are moving forward in the field of regenerative medicine and can now create a urethra from cells grown in a lab.

Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina say they have taken tissue from five boys with defective urethras and made that tissue grow into tube-things that can then be inserted back into the boys. Researchers say that these lab-grown devices can remain in use for up to six years.

If you're not sure where your urethra is or what it does, drink a gallon of water and see where it goes. Urethras can now be made in the lab -- and they work

When "Gay Cruise" Meant Something Entirely Different

In this vintage ad from the 50's, puppets Kukla and Ollie, along with famous puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, helped promote the fun passengers could expect on American Export Lines. I haven't heard of this cruise line before. But I have run across more recent ads touting "gay cruises." Those ads look totally different from this one.

Greatest Marketing Puppet of All Time

Without a doubt Charlie McCarthy was the greatest Mannequin American marketer of all time. The walls of Dale's study are covered with ads featuring Charlie shilling everything from TV's to cheese spread. And Charlie was at his best when he was promoting himself, his radio show or one of his movies.

The photo above was probably set up to promote an appearance of Abbot and Costello on Charlie's NBC radio show. Although the shot may have been set up quickly with just a chair, a music stand and a microphone; the composition is brilliant with everyone involved playing a part.

Social Media Value Takes a Hit

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

Social Media Marketing Takes a Big Hit

From Ad Age: Social Media gurus are in a tizzy. Pepsi has fallen to third place behind Diet Coke in spite of Pepsi's widely-heralded marketing strategy switch from Super Bowl ads to a huge social charity program called the Refresh Project. And Burger King has gone through a couple of Corporate Marketing Officers and fired its ad agency after producing Facebook campaigns and viral videos that got lots of hits and internet attention while the business witnessed six consecutive quarters of declining sales.

Here's my advice.  B2B marketing managers should use this occasion to pause and reflect on what the real purpose of most marketing should be ... and that is to generate "sales" not "social media hits."

The consumer social campaigns mentioned above not only delivered what they promised, they actually surpassed their goals in terms of engagement and response. But they didn't generate sales. And if social marketing can't be made responsible for tangible behaviors that transfer to the bottom line, then no made-up measures of its importance matter much at all.

Marketers need to stop pretending that "conversation" has viable sales value. Prospects do not wake up in the morning hoping to have a "conversation" with an insurance company or a manufacturer of CNC machines. Technology has changed the ways buyers get and use information. But new technology has not changed human nature. Companies still need to use proven marketing methods to sell.

Just a Thought

Does anyone but me find it interesting that it's illegal to sell candy cigarettes, but perfectly legal to sell the real thing? I think the candy cigarette manufacturers got screwed.

Elizabeth Taylor was a Marketing Icon

With Elizabeth Taylor's recent passing, marketing lost one of the pioneers of celebrity endorsements. The Oscar-winning actress created some of the most memorable print ads dating back to the 1940's, as she lent her unmistakable image to such brands as Max Factor, Whitman's chocolate, and of course Diamonds. She is also credited for being the first celebrity to create her own fragrance, which is now a mainstay for most A-List stars of today. The marketing world will miss one of the originals.


You Won't Forget the Turkey Burger

To help you remember Carl's Jr./Hardees new char broiled Turkey Burger, the company hired Miss Turkey. To help you remember Miss Turkey, they put her in a bikini. And to help you remember her bikini, they had it designed with little pictures of their Turkey Burger.

Works for me. Click here if you don't see the YouTube link above.

Muscle Milk Taps WI Athletes

"Women are going to want to play on you like a jungle gym."  So says the interviewer to Clay Matthews in a spot for Muscle Milk. The company also taps the sex appeal of Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun  who had to remove his shirt for an eye exam.

Your Dignity is Already Gone

As long as we're on WI-related ads, here's one from the UW-Madison's Copper Gable Café. "Your dignity is already gone. The Hangover Burrito."

You can deduce a lot of stories from the photo and a multitude of co-eds can probably relate to it. There's a similar ad aimed at male students, with the headline, "Sunday morning ritual." That doesn't seem nearly as judgmental as the female version.

Junk Email Reduced ... for Now

Your inbox might feel a little empty for a while because Microsoft and the Feds have taken down the world's largest botnet, "Rustock," estimated to have infected over 1 million computers worldwide.

A botnet is a series of computers infected with code that lets them be controlled remotely, often for the sending of spam.

The raid had Microsoft's digital crimes unit, accompanied by U.S. Marshals, entering 7 different server facilities and seizing the master computers alleged to be sending the command instructions to the infected machines.

Symantec reported in a blog post that in the day after the Rustock takedown, worldwide spam levels dropped by 12%.

In an interesting twist, Microsoft was able to target and seize the machines by saying the botnet was infringing on its trademarks by sending out fake Microsoft lottery emails.

Botnets typically exploit vulnerabilities in Windows browsers and operating systems, which dominate market share, to distribute spam and infect other computers.

My Favorite Print Ad of the Day

Pledge says, "Yes you can."

Get it? Yes, it's gross. But it's kinda funny, too ... and certainly memorable.

Ford Turns to "Funny" with Doug

Meet Doug, an orange puppet and the new online face of the 2012 Ford Focus. In his first official appearance, Doug (the Orange Puppet Hero) responds to hard-hitting questions from the media, before managing to slip off to give an exclusive interview to one female reporter ... who he calls "pretty pants." See if John, Ford's Marketing Specialist, can get his new spokesperson to start talking about the 2012 Focus and stop talking to "pretty pants."

The trend of most American-made automobile TV advertising is serious. Television viewers en masse aren't ready to laugh with a domestic automaker during American Idol commercial breaks.  That's why Doug and his all-star team comprising comedy writers (whose credits include Reno 911, The Simpsons, SNL and Conan) as well as director Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, The Office, Arrested Development) exist solely on the Internet.

Still, good for Ford and Team Detroit for trying to put funny content out there.

Jay Johnson T-Shirts Available

Well-known ventriloquist and Tony award winner, Jay Johnson, is also a well-known artist. Jay recently began selling t-shirts adorned with examples of his artistic talents. Of interest to many readers of this blog will be the t-shirt pictured above showing the front door to Vent Haven Museum. The back of the t-shirt says, "I'm here to see Jimmy Nelson," a tribute to this year's International Ventriloquists' Convention honoring Jimmy Nelson. All proceeds from this shirt will go to the museum.

Click here to see the shirts and to place your order.

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