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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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September 2011 - Posts

K-Y Reaches Out to Women

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

K-Y reaches out to women (and the women who love them)

Okay, this is an honest attempt to sell a sexual product to a gay female market without the slightest tinge of male fantasy. These are women in jammies, not busty models gyrating for the benefit of guys drinking Miller Lite in a beer commercial. But I'm a male pig Mannequin American, so I still find the ad pretty sexual. Click here or on the link above.

Another Reason Why I Don't Like Dogs

A new company called "Laps of Luxury" is making fake lap pillows for your pooch to sleep on when you're out earning money to buy your dog lap implants. Each of these puppies (the lap beds, not the actual puppies) will set you back $175. What a bargain.

Would You Like Schweddy Balls?


If you're anything like me, you've been waiting for Ben and Jerry's, to turn myth into reality with its Schweddy Balls ice cream. Based on the classic SNL sketch from 13 years ago, featuring the great Alec Baldwin, the ice cream is described as this: "The flavor is Fair Trade vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum and milk chocolate malt balls."

You've got to give credit to the company for having a sense of humor and bucking the PC trend.

Perky Jerky?


What could be better than performance enhanced beef jerky? Check out the product's description on their website.

What's a "Crisper"?

Whatever "Crispers" are, the sight of an ostrich in a garter belt pretty much convinces me not to try them.

Hair Removal to Remember

The Veet hair removal ad above with the tag, "Be Remembered", certainly gets your attention ... but maybe not in a good way.


But it's not the first time a Veet ad has been a bit over-the-top ... as the politically referenced ad above demonstrates.

Medical Marketing

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

Plastic Surgery for the Whole Family

Apparently a lot of you human-types feel pressure to look good all the time. Vanity seems to be running rampant.

And it seems that Park Avenue cosmetic surgeon Dr. Monasebian feels the same way, especially about kids. If this flyer that ended up in my inbox is proof, it seems the good doctor's diagnosis for "plastic surgery for the entire family" connotes that keeping up appearances now extends to kids. In the doctor's defense, the poster is targeting "emergency treatment for children," which I presume means things like broken noses, scarring, etc. Or it could be talking about really ugly kids.

Vintage Drinking

This is a real photo of a real Whisky dispenser (with water or soda). Sorry that this type of machine was mothballed because of liquor laws.

And why can't every liquor store have a display like this that says, "Pick six and create your own beer sampler."

And why can't our office replace the water cooler with a champagne dispenser? A Mannequin American can dream, can't he?

How to Keep Your Boyfriend/Husband from Drinking Your Beer

From the manufacturer: "We are proud to introduce Chick Beer, the only American beer created just for women. Chick Beer is a premium, craft-brewed light lager that has just 97 calories and 3.5 carbs. We brew Chick at America's second-oldest brewery, located in beautiful southern Wisconsin." It could work.

On the Other End of the Spectrum

The Guardian (the paper that ran this ad) and Ryanair took a lot of flak for this ad which has the tagline "See The Frauleins With The Big Jugs." Go figure? Or better yet, let's go to Bavaria!

Buried in Mannequin Americans

TLC produces "Hoarders: Buried Alive". Most episodes are uncomfortable to watch, not only because of the filth, but also because those who choose to hoard often seem to be a bit mentally unstable and are probably not getting the real help they need. So I don't watch ... usually.

But a recent episode caught my attention because a friend of ours, Tom Ladshaw, was briefly included. Back in July, Tom had told us about "Hoarder Donna," who risked being buried alive by hundreds upon hundreds of Mannequin Americans. Tom, who is a respected appraiser of ventriloquist puppets and related vent memorabilia, was brought in by the show's producers to give his opinion of Donna's "collection."

Dale and Tom talked a long time about vent-geek-related things, like who made some of the puppets, how rare were some of the puppets and how many would have a better home at Vent Haven Museum rather than stuffed into every crevice of Donna's house.

Donna seems to be a sweet person. But I wish she'd let some of my people go.

Here are the 30 strangest stills taken from the episode...

Posted: Sep 27 2011, 07:30 AM by chip | with no comments
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Keep Your Marketing Message Simple

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

It's Good to be "Simple" ... Some of You Can Relate

Whether you're conversing one-on-one, motivating your sales team or writing a column for your company newsletter, your success as a leader and as a marketer is defined by your ability to persuade with clarity and passion.

The Gettysburg Address is 271 words long. (This column is longer.) Two hundred and twenty of those words, 81%, are just one syllable. They're simple, emotion-packed words.  And they comprise one of the greatest documents written in our country's history.  True, when Lincoln spoke, he moved his lips. But to point that out is nit picking.

Clearly Lincoln understood the difference between the right word - and, the almost right word. Instead of beginning his Gettysburg Address with a cold, uninspired number, he opened with a turn of phrase adapted from the 90th Psalm of the King James Bible: "Four score and seven." Brilliant. I don't know how they get "87" out of that, but it's brilliant none-the-less.

To be an effective communicator you need to think like Lincoln. In most cases, the more simply an idea is presented, the more understandable it will be - and therefore the more credible it will be.

I'm not saying that you need to "dumb down" your messages. I'm saying you should "smarten up" your writing. Don't use words to pontificate. Use words to communicate. Don't use words to impress. Use words to inspire. Don't use words just to inform. Use words to maintain interest as well.

In short, you're probably better off using someone with three score of writing experience ... that would be me. http://www.bmpr.com/

Packers on Wheaties

General Mills will feature Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews on special-edition Wheaties boxes. The two boxes will be sold only in Wisconsin.

What a lot of media missed about this story is that Rogers asked that Jack Bartosz, 9, of Hartland and his friend, Emilie Janzen, formerly of Pewaukee and now living in Hong Kong, be pictured with Rodgers on the back of the box in a promotion for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer.

The Packers quarterback met Bartosz at an MACC fund event at a Milwaukee Wave game. John Cary, executive director of the MACC fund, said Rodgers's desire to include the charity in the promotion shows that "as good as he is on the field, he's even better off the field."

U.S. Military Benefits from "Line Extensions"

The military has marched into the retail sector armed with an arsenal of unorthodox products, ranging from cologne and walking canes to hot sauce. If you'd like to smell like a Marine, you can purchase a $45 bottle of Devil Dog cologne. You can also spice up your food with some drops from a $7 bottle of U.S. Marine Corps Hot Sauce, which its bottle declares "Will Make You Stand At Attention."

The Washington Post reports that military-branded products sell for tens of million dollars each year, thanks to the brand recognition of the service branches and partnerships with the likes of Under Armour, Gillette and New Balance. The product assault is the result of a 2004 law, intended to boost military recruiting, that granted the military the right to keep funds it made from branding products.

Of the $50 million in Army-branded products expected to be sold this year, the service makes $1.2 million in royalties. The funds go toward operating the licensing program, and leftover money goes toward programs that boost morale.

Military branches have entered the retail market [Washington Post]

Drive Recklessly

If you watch this video to the end, you'll thank me for the laugh. 

Controlled Chaos Airs on Sunday


Jeff Dunham's new 90 minute special will air on Comedy Central will air on Sunday, Sept. 25th.  It will feature two new characters ... AJ, Achmed's son, and "Little Jeff."

Click here or on the link above to see a 2 minute promo.

B2B Marketing Tip #16

 DVD available here.

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

B2B Marketing Tip

In case you haven't noticed, the economy sucks. Hollywood is thinking about making a movie about my 401k titled "I'll be Able to Retire When I Die." 

A knee-jerk reaction of some businesses when the economy is down is to opt for the cheapest form of marketing or to stop marketing completely.  Neither of those options are good ideas. They typically result in lost sales and a weaker position when the economy improves.

More importantly, those types of misguided decisions can put people like me out of work. So unless you want an additional house guest (me), read on.

What should you be doing to get your company jump started? For starters, stop doing what you're doing now. Why? Because I'm guessing they're the same things that you've been doing all along, and frankly, that isn't going to cut it these days.

Get some new ideas. Get some help. Get me! http://www.bmpr.com/

Dior J'adore Raises Dead Celebrities

See how many famous (and deceased) movie stars you can spot in this new commercial for Dior J'adore. It's pretty well done to appear as if they all were around last weekend to appear in the ad. The non-deceased star is Charlize Theron, stunning spokes model for the brand.


As long as we're on the subject of women's products ... I feel it's my duty to bring you every detail regarding lingerie advertising. So with that in mind, I give you Kim, Khloe and Kourtney modeling lingerie from their Kollection that was recently debuted by Sears.  The Kardashians and Sears ... yeah, that'll work.

More of Less ... Lingerie

This Agent Provocateur video (which has an "age appropriate" warning) features Paz De La Huerta who is touting the brand's Fall and Winter lineup by "accidently" showing it in public. The 1:30 video depicts Huerta in scenarios realistic only in the minds of creative directors, fashion aficionados and deviants.

Huerta simply cannot keep her undergarments covered while arriving in a vehicle, dropping her purse and leaving in a vehicle, allowing drooling paparazzi to capture full on crotch, cleavage and derrière shots. It's kinda sleazy if you ask me ... so it'll probably work.

Another Reason to Move to Texas

Put the pedal to the metal and get it in gear becuase the max speed limit in Texas has officially been raised to 85 MPH. Woohoo, yee-doggy! Who wants to drive across vast stretches of blandness as fast as possible with me to celebrate?!?!

...But it will still be some time before motorists are allowed to actually go 85 MPH.  While the speed limit has changed, the speed limit signs have not. The Texas Department of Transportation will first be evaluating which stretches of highways can safely have their speed limits increased to just 75 from 70. The study will be completed, along with the posting of the new signs, by 2013.

Texas also repealed speed limit signs that mandated a 5 MPH slower speed limit when driving at night. Not sure about that one. It helps to be able to see down the road a ways when traveling a brisk 85 mph.

Celebrities Sometimes Sell Their Souls Along with Their Names


Is it worth paying the extra price for some TV star's face on your box of pasta?

According to Consumer Reports, half of the 26 celebrity foods it tested were rated average, while 10 were rated "Very Good" and 3 ... Giada De Laurentiis Tomato Basil pasta sauce, Mario Batali Marinara sauce, and Wolfgang Puck Tomato Basil Bisque ... earned a Rating of Excellent.

CR also warns that, while celebrity brands often cost more because they contain fresher and/or better quality ingredients, a famous name doesn't guarantee that you'll get anything different than you would from Kraft or Campbell's.  Celebrity Brands: Are star-studded products worth their A-list prices? [Consumer Reports]

Definitely a Vintage Ad

The model above, Eva Six, starred in "4 For Texas" with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Anita Ekberg and Ursula Andress. But apparently she needed Wate-On to help her fill out her figure. I think she looks fine. But today marketers would probably use her to promote a weight loss product.

While We're on the Subject ...

I'm the last to pigeonhole people. But Dale owns a Harley and most of the biker babes I've seen would have a difficult time fitting into the Harley Davidson tunic shown above. "Vintage Harley style with a slim modern fit." Have they looked at who's riding those Hogs?

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