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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April 2012 - Posts

Why "Rules" are Good

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

The Up Side to Rules or, Why I Like Dress Codes

"If dress codes were everywhere, they'd bother me.  But in a world of flip flops and ‘I'm with Stoopid' tee-shirts, the occasional bastion of elegance can be a nice thing."
David Shapiro

I admit it: I'm a little old fashioned when it comes to dressing up for special events. I own two tuxedos ... they both have holes cut in the back ... and they were both kinda expensive. But I don't wear either of them much anymore, because the venues I perform at these days are much more casual than they used to be.

I'm old enough to remember when people dressed up to go to the shows and casinos in Las Vegas. They dressed up to get on airplanes, to go to the movies and to go to church. Dressing up was expected. If you purchased a Jerry Mahoney "dummy" in the 60's it came with a suit and tie. Today's Mannequin Americans probably come with sweatshirts and jeans.

Times change. But as Mr. Shapiro pointed out in his quote above, sometimes it's nice to be forced to raise our wardrobe standards en mass. So it was with some delight that Dale, Leslie and I recently were invited to visit the "World Famous Magic Castle" in Hollywood, CA. The Magic Castle is a private club with a very strict dress code that is always enforced. Coats and ties for the men. Evening wear for ladies. I think it says a lot about how the institution sees itself, even in oh-so-casual California. To me it seemed very appropriate and refreshing.

The castle includes a magnificent dining room and several very unique pubs. And each night it hosts five different magic shows in three different show rooms.

You have to show a photo ID before you're allowed to enter the Castle and you must be 21. Photos aren't allowed inside. We were handed a printed note from Neil Patrick Harris, President, Academy of Magical Arts, which owns the Magic Castle. In part, the note encouraged us to have fun. But Mr. Harris also pointed out that, "As this is a club and not a theme park, please honor our rules and maintain decorum." 

So there we were ... all dressed up with a large number of strangers who were also dressed up. No camera phone flashes, no one shouting out from the audience, no one doing anything to infringe on our personal enjoyment of the experience. And I appreciated every moment of it. Who knew enforcing rules that require individuals to act the way people used to behave when there weren't any rules, would prove to be so refreshing.

What's in Your Pants?

If you want to "pocket" $10,000 (Get it? The headline!) go to the Edge Shaving Cream website http://www.edgeshave.com/ and enter their contest. Or do as I did ... rub a little sandpaper on your face and move on.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Vodka

In booze-related news (my favorite kind!), Van Gogh Vodka has announced the releasing of Peanut Butter & Jelly Vodka. It combines the flavors of rich creamy peanut butter and raspberry jelly to form the perfect after school snack.

Should you chase it with a glass of milk or 2 slices of white bread cut into triangles? I'm not picky ... either way sounds good to me. Source

Guitar Pee Game

I'm not saying anything about this. Click here to see a video that explains how the game works.

Original "Muppet Show" Pitch Video

Anyone hoping to sell a TV show of their own should take notes from this pitch video for the Muppet Show. Created and voiced by Jim Henson, the video's pacing and escalation is pretty much perfect, and it's no wonder that the show was indeed bought after this pitch was given. If only all shows had pitch videos like this. Click here

Funny Commercial from Scotland

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

Funny Commercial From Scotland

It's not cool to come home to find your mom in a three-way. Click here to see the funniest commercial from Scotland that you'll see today. It's for Irn-Bru, an extremely popular soft drink in Scotland.

Babes and Donuts Sell Scion

This is how you promote a crappy car while at the same time promoting reckless driving.


No Need for B2B to Rush to Facebook

(The last breakfast)

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

No Need for Most B2B Marketers to Rush to Facebook

You've probably heard that Facebook is busy reinventing advertising. Is that the path b2b companies want/need to travel? Signs point to no.

According to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, the more companies use social media channels to sell, the less they sell. Baer points to new research from ExactTarget. In their "2012 Channel Preferences Study", 1,500 Americans ages 15 and older were asked about their usage of email, social media, and text messaging.

"Email is thriving thanks in large part to the channel's familiarity, flexibility, and universality," the report says.

Even for companies that we have given permission to send us offers (not Spam), only 4% of us prefer those messages to be delivered via Facebook, and just 1% via Twitter, whereas 77% of us prefer offers to be delivered via email and 44% would look to email first to find a deal.

So stop worrying how your campaign will play out on Tweetbook, and continue to work on how it will be received in your prospect's inbox.

Clever Billboard Reprisal

Newcastle took quick advantage of a billboard position to poke a little fun at its competitor, Stella Artois.

Parking with a Cell Phone

This is just too cool to pass up.  Click here to see how you can now park your car from the outside, using your smart phone.

Are Warning Stickers Supposed to Make You Laugh?

Notcot went to a recent industrial trade show and instead of covering the machinery, photo documented the warning stickers on machines. The more you look, the more you'll believe that the Amish are onto something.

Click here to see more machine warning labels.

Frasier Call-in Celebrities Revealed


The many folks who phoned into Frasier's radio show with various degrees of mental illness weren't just Hollywood voice-over actors. They were actually Christopher Reeve, Art Garfunkel, John Lithgow, Matthew Broderick, Ray Liotta, Ron Howard, Bill Paxton, Helen Mirren, little Hillary Duff and more.

Click here or on the video above to see who called in and hear their calls.

How to Make Your Company Memorable



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

Note: For safety and comfort, readers of this blog should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by Mannequin American awesomeness.  

How to Make Your Company Memorable to Prospects

If you could tell a prospect only one thing about your business (a single sentence) that you hope the prospect will remember forever and repeat often ... what would you say?

If you discovered you had time for a second sentence, what would you add?

For some reason - you get a chance at adding a third sentence.  What's next?

Wow! The prospect seems fascinated. But it's the first question that's the killer.  If you could only say ONE thing and then had to walk away and that was all your prospect was ever going to remember about your business, what would you say? Once you figure that out, you'll know the key message that you should always lead with.

Give it a try.  It's worth the effort.

One Touch Pizza Ordering

Designed to appeal to consumers that are looking for speed and efficiency when ordering food, a pizza joint has created a one-step process to getting a pizza delivered to the front door.

Created by a Dubai-based restaurant called Red Tomato Pizza, the wood-fire pizza place has designed a fridge magnet that allows consumers to order a pizza for delivery by pressing the magnet one time. In order to enable the one-touch process, the user syncs the ‘VIP Fridge Magnet' via Bluetooth with a smartphone. The user sets up their favorite type of pizza order online and this specific selection will be tied to the user's account. As noted by Mashable, the magnet is in the shape of a small pizza box with a lid that opens up. 

National pizza chains such as Domino's Pizza, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut offer smartphone apps on the iOS and Android platforms, but certainly nothing as simple as a one-click method. However, the app for Domino's Pizza does include the ability to track the progress of the order from the time it starts baking to the point when the pizza is headed out to the consumer for delivery.

Saving Your Bacon ... for Eternity

For diehard bacon aficionados, bacon is not just a way of life, but could also be a way to spend eternity. And no, I don't mean overeating it to the point of artery-clogging, I mean that J&D's Foods has created what it calls the Bacon Coffin, painted to resemble that supreme pork product and cradle you six feet under forevermore.

Yes, this is really real. Bacon Coffins are finished with a painted Bacon and Pork shading and accented with gold stationary handles. Price is $2,999.95 plus shipping.

After baconlube (bacon flavored personal lubricant), we all knew it was just going to keep getting weirder. We once asked what could be next from the makers of Baconnaise and Bacon Baby Formula, and now they've answered us with this eternal offering.

Now You Can Rent Your Ties

According to TieTry, if you want that great look, you need a great tie! The problem is, once you wear that tie a few times, the look can become old.

Take what Netflix did for the movie industry and apply it to ties and you end up with TieTry - a new business that gives men the opportunity to have a great look that never gets old!

How it works:  As a member, you simply go to the TieTry website and select the ties you want to try.  The ties are shipped to you and you can wear them once, twice or however many times you'd like. Then simply send them back. Once returned, the good people at TieTry will immediately send out the next set of ties on your list.

A two month membership is $16 and includes all the tie swapping you want.
Click here to go to the website.

Now You Can Dress Like Fozzie

As long as we're on fashion, if there's one Muppet that fans have always wished they could dress like, it's Fozzie Bear.  His choice of headwear and neckwear, combined with his otherwise nude appearance, inspired us all to higher fashion.

Which is why I, for one, am very excited that Macy's just announced The Fozzie Bear Collection, which will soon be available at their retail stores, and then on their website. So far, the lineup consists only of porkpie hats and polka-dotted neckties. But there are plans to add more items, including Fozzie's reporter hat from The Great Muppet Caper and a replica of his Patrol Bear uniform.  There are also plans for a "juniors" line for kids, including Baby Fozzie's beanie and onesie from Muppet Babies.

I can't wait to purchase this stuff ... although I don't recommend leaving the house with nothing but a hat and tie on.

Stuffed and Unstrung Featured on Celebrity Apprentice

And speaking of Muppets, a recent episode of Celebrity Apprentice took place at a Henson Alternative's Stuffed and Unstrung performance.  The contestants had to design their own original puppets, and then perform in the live improv show. (Then one of the celebrities undoubtedly had a breakdown, and then The Donald made a pouty face and fired someone.

The episode aired on April 15 at 9pm EST on NBC.

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