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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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May 2011 - Posts

Attracting Women Buyers

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

"The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they're made up."
Abraham Lincoln

Why Women Buy Sparkling Cider


I promised someone that for awhile I would stay away from marketing that uses "breasts" to sell products. (We'll see how long that lasts.) Apparently women buy Jillz sparkling cider, so I decided to include this bit of eye candy for the ladies. Click here or on the link above.  

More for the Ladies



Along the same lines, here's an ad for Switzerland Chocolate and good-looking men?! We're thinking a Swiss vacation may help any woman get over a recent break-up. Where men will spend more time on you than on football.

Feel Safer in Your Land Rover


This made me laugh. The new Land Rover commercial involves a pathological liar ... which makes it difficult to know if, when he tells you he's a pathological liar, he's telling the truth. But he's definitely entertaining and definitely feels safer in his Land Rover.

It's Tough Out There for Cupid


Here's a dating site ad that doesn't use sex to sell. Dating site Parship does a pretty good job with this ad ... although it takes a while to get to the punch line and you have to be paying attention to get it ... but I think it's worth the wait.

Click here or on the link above for a laugh.

Sips and Strokes

We were out touring the countryside last weekend and passed by a sign indicating a building in Pewaukee, WI housed Sips and Strokes. Huh? My curiosity got the best of me so I whipped out my Smart Phone and Googled Sips and Strokes. Sure enough ... it's a franchise.  The website is not very enticing, but it says a customer receives "step-by-step instructions on how to paint a beautiful masterpiece that you can take home." And you can drink while you paint ... which is likely why you'll think it's a "masterpiece."

Sips and Strokes supplies the canvas, the brushes, and the paint and in most locations, patrons bring the liquor. But WI state law does now allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages brought in by patrons, so in this state, beverages are available for purchase.

I'm game for most anything that includes libations. But a painting party? A painting date? A painting hangover? I wonder if they include "body painting" in their instructions. Now that I may be interested in trying. Or maybe they have a "critic's corner" where I can just sit and drink and critique everyone else's work?

A Couple of Questionable Outdoor Ads

This is an ambient street ad for 120-calorie Cup Noodle in South Korea. I guess the idea is that her skirt fell off because she lost weight on her noodle diet? Men seem attracted to the ad. Women ... not so much. Which to me means they've targeted the wrong audience.


This mobile sign for The Corner Butcher Shop doesn't really make my mouth water. But I bet it gets attention.

Vintage Ad

"Girls! If you're attractive with a well-proportioned figure," you could step into the exciting world of the Playboy Bunny. Don't forget to bring your 3-inch heels and a swim suit.

I know it seems pretty chauvinistic today ... but in truth this ad appeared during a much simpler time. It was a time when there were fewer rules, fewer self-righteous complainers and more civility. It was pre-Hooters. It all seems pretty innocent now.

Dunham on A&E's Biography

After countless profiles and features in major magazines and newspapers around the world, our buddy Jeff Dunham is going to get the A&E Biography treatment.

A two-hour Biography special on Jeff will air this fall on A&E's Biography channel. (I hope he remembers to mention all of the Mannequin American manipulation tips I gave him in his early years.)

In fact, it looks like Jeff is going to own September:

  • His best-selling book All By My Selves will be released in paperback
  • His new hour-long special will hit Comedy Central on Sept. 25 
  • His DVD will be available two days later
  • His Bio will be featured on A&E

I wish I had something funny to say here ... but after reviewing Jeff's list of accomplishments just in the month of September, it appears my life sucks.


Memorial Day Tributes


Posted: May 30 2011, 07:30 AM by chip | with no comments
Filed under: ,
Excellent Use Of Social Media to Promote a Product


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

Excellent Example of Social Media's Use to Promote a New Product

If you're still among those trying to figure out how social media can be used to promote products, here's an excellent example. Renault enabled visitors to the Amsterdam Motor Sow show to simply swipe cards at stands near cars they liked, and their choices were automatically uploaded to their Facebook pages.

The video does a great job of explaining the simplicity of the program.

Nolan's Cheddar Gets 1.6 Million Hits

Considering this commercial for Nolan's Cheddar has over 1.6 million views on YouTube, I'm obviously out of the humorous cheese commercial loop. It's a minute and a half long, but worth it ... and no, the mouse doesn't die. But think about it ... 1.6 million people voluntarily viewed this commercial. Why? Because that's the power of humor. Now I'm going to go eat some cheese.

He Forgot to Wear His Seatbelt

3-D billboards generally attract more attention. And this one is simplicity at its best. No preaching. No long verbiage. Just a very simple message.

Should Women be Compared to Animals?

This ad for Dos Equis beer has received a lot of attention and a lot of criticism in marketing columns and marketing blogs. Apparently some people feel it's inappropriate to compare women to animals.

Come on people. It's a joke. And it's a pretty good one at that. Stay thirsty my friends ... and have a sense of humor.

How do They Make Models Look Like That?

This beauty editorial is from Paris Vogue, November 2008 ... so it's not new, but it's still interesting. 

There's no photo-shopping here. Using only make-up, lighting and styling, model Eniko Mihalik is photographed as a 10 year old, a 20 year old, a 30 year old, a 40 year old, a 50 year old and a 60 year old. All of the photos below are of the same model at the same age. No, I don't know how old she really is ... which makes this all the scarier.

10 years old

20 years old

30 years old

40 years old

50 years old

60 years old

Apparently with the right make-up, lighting, styling and photographer, I could pass for Farfel the Dog. The point is real people don't look like those pictured in marketing materials. But we keep buying crap in hopes that it will make us look like them anyway.

Which brings me to the LOL ad below...

A Rubber Spatula Will Make Him Look Younger

Click here to see Walmart's Olay Grandpa ... pretty funny stuff.

Not a Great Puppet Ad

Here's an amusing little spot from 180 for Boost Mobile. It's populated by puppets who hound the main character from the moment he wakes up. The guy seems constantly stressed for time ... and the puppets don't seem to add much of anything to the commercial. Still, it's nice to see puppets getting some work.

New Muppet Movie Trailer

Here's the trailer for the new Muppet movie, Green with Envy. Clever way to do a promo trailer.

More Best of Branson ... Jim Barber

While we were in Branson we were fortunate enough to attend the Hamner Barber Variety Show, with ventriloquist, comedian and vocalist Jim Barber and amazing illusionists Dave and Denise Hamner. This is undoubtedly one of the best shows in a city offering boatloads of family fun and astonishing illusions. If you go to Branson, don't miss this show, which includes an inspirational multi-media tribute to veterans brings the audience to their feet every night.

When we were there Jim was kind enough to acknowledge us in the audience ... but I was in the lobby getting pop corn, so Dale took the bow.

As for the show, Jim's "Barber and Seville" routine got things off to a hilarious start. If you ever have a chance to see this routine in person, don't miss it. I've seen it many times, and it makes me laugh every time.

After that Jim sang, danced and vented his way throughout the show using a variety of characters and demonstrating his incredible vent skills. The show includes singers, dancers and of course the amazing magic of the Hamners. This is truly an original and creative show that has something for everyone.

Above, after the show Jim Barber, Dale, ventriloquist Mark Wade and Dave Hamner.

Social Media Results Can Say What You Want Them to Say

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

"Spinning" Social Media Results to Say What You Want Them to Say

Back in 2009, Walmart surveyed its customers and asked, "Would you like Walmart to be less cluttered?" The customers said "Yes." So Walmart cleared out space and reduced inventory and customer satisfaction shot up. However, same-store sales plummeted by an estimated $1.85 billion.

Now Walmart has fired the team that put the idea into place and is spending hundreds of millions to undo what they spent hundreds of millions doing.

But wait! Weren't they listening to their customers? Why weren't they rewarded? I'll tell you why ... customers don't always tell the truth ... which is why "listening" isn't always such a good idea. Turns out that while they enjoyed the increase in space inside the stores, what really matter to Walmart customers is a vast selection of cheap items.

Now some "Social Media Gurus", i.e. people with vested interests in promoting social media, claim that Walmart wasn't really "listening" to their customers. They believe that Walmart came up with the answer first, then asked customers to agree to it. The problem with that conclusion is that if the customers had said no, and Walmart hadn't changed anything and sales remained strong, those same "gurus" would have declared Walmart to have been a great "listener" ... because that would have put a positive spin on Wamart's social media efforts. And positive spins are what social media "gurus" are often all about.

"Because Ugly Doesn't Sell Burgers"

"We believe in putting hot models in our commercials because ugly ones don't sell burgers."  That's what this commercial from Carl's Jr. says. It's stupidly honest and stupidly comical. The celebrity jet-ski tandem of Olivia Munn and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a nice touch.  

The New St. Pauli Girl

St. Pauli Girl has chosen another St. Pauli Girl. Selecting a new "spokes model" each year is a proven publicity tool. This year it's Jennifer England and she's from Michigan. She's a former Miss Venus Swimwear International as well as Miss Hawaiian Tropic International so she's well qualified to become St. Pauli Girl's version of a barmaid which is sort of like a cross between a high school cheerleader and lingerie model.

I have no idea how this sells beer.  But eye candy is eye candy and that always draws attention. And if you're a poster collector you can order a free poster of the new St. Pauli Girl and sign up to win an autographed poster which will be hand delivered by England herself. Click here for more info.

Old Spice Changes Spokesperson

No matter how successful ... no matter how well received ... at some point someone says "It's time for a new spokesperson," and poof, there it is - a new spokesperson.

Seems that's what going on over at Old Spice, but I have to admit the spot is pretty darn entertaining. Click here to see the commercial.

Campbell's Doesn't Really Mean 25% Less Sodium

Here's a trick question: How much sodium does Campbell's "25% less sodium" tomato soup contain compared to regular Campbell's tomato soup? Would you believe that both contain 480 mg? And that the first one costs more? Four NJ housewives couldn't, and a federal judge has ruled that their lawsuit against Campbell's over what they call misleading labels can proceed.

Campbell's reply is that the "25% less sodium" claim is as compared to the average of "all varieties" of condensed soup, not tomato. "Campbell has complete confidence in the accuracy of our labels and our marketing communications and that they meet regulatory and other legal requirements," the company told Reuters.

Good luck with that Campbells.

They're Delivering What?

It's not just a mobile billboard for the European Sperm Bank; it's carrying samples! That's CEO Peter Bower (above) delivering frozen *** to fertility clinics. (Do they take street donations?)

Time Waster for the Day

I have no idea what the point of the Magnum Pleasure Hunt is ... (actually I do ... it's to sell ice cream) ... but my point is that I wasted a good 10 minutes playing this Flash game that requires you to help this lady walk, run and jump to collect as many pieces of chocolate as you can.

What's sort of mesmerizing about the game is that during the adventure the lady finds her way across the internet into all kinds of website and social media screens. I just kept thinking, "How did they do that and how much did it cost?!" I'm not sure the game succeeds at promoting the new Magnum ice cream ... but the game got a lot of internet attention and helped me to waste 10 minutes. Try it. Click here. My score was around 7,500, which at the time was ranked 12,435th.

Which is Worse ... PETA or Carrot Top?

We all know that PETA uses naked women to get noticed and to get talked about ... and it works to a degree.  Here they use "Bonnie-Jill Laflin" ... and I have no idea why I should know who she is, or care who she is. But everyone in our office agreed that she looks good naked.

Anyway, on the opposite extreme we have ... Carrot Top ... who rather than go naked to promote an upcoming interview, agreed to let his hair be straightened for the publicity photos.

Don't get me wrong - I'm actually a huge Carrot Top fan. And if you haven't seen him live, don't judge me. His show is 2 hours of non-stop over-the-top hilarity. The only thing that could make it better would be the addition of one or two Mannequin Americans.

Hands down, Carrot Top beats PETA for class ... which sure doesn't say much for PETA.

The Best of Branson ... Todd Oliver

While we were in Branson a few weeks ago we stopped at the Jim Stafford Theater to see our friend Todd Oliver and his talking dogs. Click here to see a clip from David Letterman. When Todd spotted Dale in the audience (I had gone out for popcorn) he asked him to stand up and introduced him to everyone as "One of the best ventriloquists in the business." Obviously he's never seen our act. Dale tried to wave and act like he was somebody, but I don't think he pulled it off.

Along with his canine friends Irving, Lucy, and Elvis, Todd's show includes a variety of vent characters including Pops, Miss Lilly and Joey. He also joins in with his outstanding Smiling Eyes Band and demonstrates his ability as an accomplished musician and singer.

While Todd has developed his show over the course of several years, this is the first time that his full show has been presented to Branson audiences. There's lots of audience participation, original music, and riotous comedy. Shows are at 12 noon and include a lunch served prior to the show. If you get to Branson, don't miss it.

After the show Todd graciously invited Dale and our friends Mike Kelly and Mark and Jody Wade to visit his ranch. He shared his very impressive collection of vent figures and vent memorabilia with us and by the time he had emptied all of his closets and boxes, we had run out of room to set things down. Todd is an incredible vent historian and has tracked down many "old time" vents and talked with them to learn their stories.

Above, Dale, Todd, Mark and Mike share a laugh while looking at old ventriloquist figure catalogs that Todd has collected. Some of my Mannequin American buddies are also in the picture but I don't remember their names.

Todd also has a big heart and shares his home with a lot (I lost count) of abandoned dogs that he lovingly cares for. All of the dogs in his show are from shelters.

Branson offers over 100 shows and without a doubt Todd's is one of the best. Go visit Branson and tell Todd he owes me a beer ... he ran out when we were at his house.

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