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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July 2011 - Posts

Oscar Mayer Celebrates 75th Birthday

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

Small Business Owners Can Take or Leave Social Media

About half of small-business owners use social media and only 4% say it's an indispensable tool for their business according to an Opinium Research poll. By contrast, half of the companies surveyed said that real-world word-of-mouth is an essential part of their customer outreach strategy.

Oscar Mayer Celebrates 75th Birthday

The Wienermobile continues to roll on as a piece of classic Americana. And today, it dons a party hat in celebration of its 75th birthday.

But with the popularity of "food trucks" on the rise, Oscar Mayer has jumped into the foray by adding a 30-foot Wienermobile food truck to its fleet of vehicles. This newest Wienermobile was revealed in New York City, where celebrity chef Tyler Florence was on hand to dish out Oscar Mayer hot dogs.

Ford E-Series wiener-delivery system joins a fleet filled with six iconic 27-foot-long Wienermobiles, and one mini 15-footer.

The Power of Macaroni


Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has warmed people up during cold days for over 80 years. So why not take it to one of the coldest, most iconic places in America, Green Bay's Lambeau Field, to let the warm cheesy goodness work its magic there? A heated Big Noodle was delivered there so that hardcore fans could warm themselves when the temperature falls below freezing.

A Liquid Surprise?

Here's a very strange ad for Vivident Gum ... but it includes a marionette, so it can't be all bad.  Click here to see the ad where dad reveals he's really your mom.

That's a Spicy Meatball

We often forget why this commercial for Alka-Seltzer is so iconic. Click here or on the link above to see this very well-written and very funny commercial that would still resonate today.

Attention-getting Print Ads

This ad for Penalty Running Shoes says, "The more you run, the shorter the distance." Funny. I like it.

This ad for Tempo simply says, "Super Absorbent Paper Towel. Great Visual.

Apparently blood can't find its way out of "Always." "Designed with LeakGuard protection. Always ultra thin."

Distinguish Your Brand with "Names"


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

We Call it "Brown"


If you heard the words "Tempest," "Turbulence" and "Tornado Watch," you might head for the basement - fast.

Paint manufacturers want you to head for the living room.

In a redoubled effort to capture consumers' attention in this sputtering economic recovery, some paint companies are hoping to distinguish their brands with names that tell a story, summon a memory or evoke an emotion - even a dark one - as long as they result in a sale.

What they do not do is reveal the color.

Thus, Valspar, which once featured Apricot 1 through Apricot 6, now offers Weekend in the Country...

  • Sherwin-Williams offers Synergy
  • From Ace Paint comes Hey There!
  • Benjamin Moore has Old World Romance
  • Martha Stewart offers Darkening Sky and Tempest
  • Benjamin Moore has Stormy Sky
  • Pantone has Turbulence and Tornado

... all names that give new meaning to the term ‘colorblind'.

"Color names are marketing tools, meaning they help sell paint," said Lyne Castonguay, merchandising vice president for paint at The Home Depot.

"Emotional color names in neutral shades and color combos are crucial for successful home sales," Ms. Castonguay said, citing as examples The Home Depot's Behr Collection names like "Quietude," "Rejuvenate" and "Cozy Cottage."

Click here to see if you can match 5 colors with their correct names.

The Dip Desperado

In the UK, Doritos recently released a cool integrated campaign. The rise and fall of Esteban Ortega is an entertaining 2 minute video supported by a gaming layer on Facebook or through mobile devices. Click here to see it the video ... it's funny and effective in luring you to try the on-line game.


If you want to play the game on Facebook this is the link.

Kate Upton SoBe

Kate Upton challenges a guy to a staring contest in this funny ad for SoBe. Poor sucker doesn't stand a chance of keeping his eyes where they belong. Click here to see this humorous approach for SoBe.

Tasteless, Inappropriate, Insulting

Here are three ads that fit into one or more of the categories listed in the headline above.

With the cutline, "Mother Nature please, the room is already paid," the appropriateness of this Valentine's Day ad for Tampax is questionable at best.

This Harvey Nichols ad depicts a graph that suggests a woman's shoes are directly tied to the pleasant appearance of the men she attracts. High heels apparently equal cat nip for men. Actually, I kinda like this one.

And for the ultimate in bad taste, here's an ad for QSOL Server Appliances. Even with someone behind me, I have nothing to say.

How and Why We Know Kelly Asbury

Here's a photo of Dale (right) with our friend, Kelly Asbury ... director and co-writer of the 3D computer-animated feature film Gnomeo & Juliet. Kelly also provided a variety of character voices on "Gnomeo and Juliet" and "Shrek 2".

Kelly directed the Oscar-nominated films "Shrek 2" and "Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron". He also worked as an animator on some of Hollywood's most popular animated films, including "Shrek", "Toy Story", "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid".

You're probably wondering why Kelly would hang out with a dweeb ventriloquist like Dale. Though not a ventriloquist himself, for some unknown reason Kelly harbors a lifelong passion for our craft ... going so far as to write the non-fiction book, "Dummy Days - America's Favorite Ventriloquists from Radio and Early TV." The year that Kelly's book was introduced, Dale and I were scheduled to appear at the International Ventriloquists' Convention. But a few weeks prior to the convention, idiot Dale was involved in a racing accident at Road America and ended up in the hospital ... so we had to miss the convention. Kelly heard about Dale's accident and signed a copy of his book for us. Then the book was passed around the convention and it now contains the signatures and good wishes from nearly 150 of our vent friends and associates. The book is prominently displayed in Dale's office. 

Breasts are Marketing Tools

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

It's Not Your Imagination ... Breasts Are Marketing Tools

NBC's Today Show recently ran a segment on "Breast Obsessed in America." As the report was teased throughout the broadcast and during the segment itself, 54 pairs of breasts appeared on screen ... I counted them ... twice. The show also featured a fashion segment with several female models displaying different types of bras.

So obviously if you weren't already obsessed with breasts, the Today Show helped to push (or push-up) you a little more in that direction.

No one knows the power of breasts more than marketers ... who incessantly bombard us with ta-tas, regardless of their correlation to the product or service being sold.

Here's an ad which I'm assuming is for the crazy looking object on the models face (what is that thing?). "Now the first thing he looks at won't be your sweater kittens." Personally I think her "sweater kittens" may have improved the ad.

The Most Powerful Thing on Earth?

Summer's Eve is out with a new campaign that counters the power of breasts by celebrating the vagina.

Shifting away from the typical approach to selling feminine hygiene products which feature women in white pants frolicking freely in fields of blowing grass and flowers, this ad is definitely more direct. "Men have fought for it ... battled for it ... died for it ... you could say it's the most powerful thing on earth. So come on ladies, show it a little love."  Click here to "Hail to the V."

And in an even more direct approach ... if that's possible ... this Summer's Eve ad literally uses a "hand puppet" to impersonate the vertical smile. It's part of the new "Hail to the V" campaign. Click here or on the link above to see the Lady Wowza.

Vintage Ads


The copy on this ad for the JouJou Breast Supporter is pretty entertaining ... and grammatically abhorring.  But it's the cutline and the photo that caught my attention ... "Without & With."

The Sun is Good

You know this is a vintage ad with a headline like, "Beautiful tan today. Young looking skin tomorrow."  If you're wondering what ever happened to the model ... this may be her below.


To keep soldiers away from the body parts mentioned above this vintage ad relies on very questionable statistics and an assembly line of identical blondes who have to cross their legs at the ankles to keep their nether regions from exploding. But I love the phrase "procurable women," don't you?

What is Content Marketing?

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

Content Marketing

Some companies make the mistake of believing that with social media, technology is king and content is not important.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Having 10,000 fans "Like" you doesn't mean anything if you can't convert a good portion of them into genuine customers.

Customers and prospects engage and interact with a company when they are intrigued, interested, informed or entertained. So to engage your targeted audiences you must provide quality content. Content marketing involves creating and distributing relevant, valuable and sometimes entertaining content to attract clearly defined target audiences.  Content marketing often serves as the cornerstone of a company's social media marketing strategy ... creating educational items that are interesting, relevant and useful to prospects and customers.

At the same time, having a "voice" in social media is also important. That means giving your social media posts a little personality. People don't want to interact with a boring, faceless corporate entity; they want to interact with a person (or Mannequin American). So keep that in mind as you create your content.

Click here for a comprehensive list of social media tools and information on how each tool can be used in your overall content marketing program.

Keep Your Money or Lose Your Clothes?

Here's a credit union that's taking on the big banks with a simple message: "Keep your money. Ditch your bank."

Affinity Plus uses physical humor and people in their underwear to grab your attention ... it got mine! It's funny and it works. Click here or on the link above.

Armpit Puppets Sell Deodorant

Roxona deodorant sells its "Sensitive" brand to manly men via singing armpits. Click here or on the link above to see this unusual use of "puppet pits."

Singing Penis Sets Noise Record

I knew that headline would peak your interest.

A tiny water boatman is the loudest animal on Earth relative to its body size, a study has revealed. Scientists recorded the aquatic animal "singing" at up to 99.2 decibels, the equivalent of listening to a loud orchestra play while sitting in the front row.

The insect makes the sound by rubbing its penis against its abdomen in a process known as "stridulation". Researchers say the song is a courtship display performed to attract a mate.

I think I'll stick to buying women drinks.

Speaking of Small Water-related Animals

Remember Sea-Monkeys? Some say the guy who came up with the idea was a marketing genius.

If you flipped through a single comic book anytime after 1962 you saw ads for Sea-Monkeys.  The ads portrayed a cheerful family of humanoid creatures bearing crowns of some sort and hanging out by their underwater castle. The fine print pointed out that the drawing depicted "caricatures," and not the real animal, but the bigger type spun a magical tale of pets that would be "like a pack of friendly trained seals" if you followed the directions. And a lot of people bought into the dream.

The claims are sort of true ... emphasis on "sort of."  Sea-Monkeys are a variant of brine shrimp, which are harvested for use as fish food and begin their lives as cysts that can last for years in a kind of suspended animation if kept in dry conditions. The creatures come in packets, looking like white powder. With proper care, Sea-Monkeys can grow to be visible and pretty neat, even if they bear no resemblance to the illustration.

Watch them dancing around to Chopin.

Involving Magazine Ad

This Wonderbra ad lets you do a little impromptu boob cinching.

You can create your own "page cleavage." A nice little pick-me-up when you're in the middle of a boring article.

Why Female Armor Sucks

From College Humor: A short video on the shortcomings of female armor. Nothing to do with marketing ... but it made me laugh. Click here and, "Aim for the shiny parts."

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