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 2013 - Posts

Are These Ads Funny or Offensive?

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

Ladies Change Your Lives with Bacon

Maple Leaf is currently pushing this video on Facebook ads. It tells the story of a woman who calmly accepts her role in the universe, which is the role of a 1950s mom who is expected to do all the cooking and cleaning of the house. Then she discovers the power of bacon. Feminists don't like the ad, claiming it depicts women as slaves to their husbands and children. Fortunately I'm a Mannequin American, not a feminist, and I like bacon.

Roxy Pro Biarritz 2013 Teaser

Every year for the last eight years, Roxy Sports Apparel has sponsored the Roxy Pro bringing together the world's best women surfers to Biarritz for an original blend of elite surfing & top class music.

This teaser ad features five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore ... presumably surfing in her Roxy sportswear. As the video above shows, there are bed shots of the surfer, shower shots of the surfer but not one wave-riding image. Feminists are upset. Fortunately feminists don't read this blog. In addition, with almost 2 millions hit on YouTube, the feminist outcry has done a good job promoting Roxy.  

Feminists Must be Getting Headaches by Now

Burger Business reports that Burger King Switzerland is promoting its new Gold Collection Double Steakhouse Hot & Spicy burger with jalapeňo slices and a Double Steakhouse BBQ Cheese with bacon as "grill luxury at its finest". We all know that sex sells ... but even I have to admit that the ad above is a little over the top. Gold Finger must be rolling over in his grave.

Are Tooth Picks Cool?

Lest you think only tacky folk and rednecks chew on toothpicks, let me correct you. Daneson toothpicks are fine quality northern white birch wood soaked and kiln dried, using a time consuming process to create rich flavors for the discriminating toothpick-user/chewer. At least that's what the website says.

Available as Salted, Smoked, Cinnamint, Lemon, Mint and their most intriguing, Single Malt Nº16, they warm in the mouth releasing the subtle and distinct flavors. The Single Malt Nº16 is made from barrel aged Islay single malt scotch from a 200-year-old distillery.


Each vile contains a minimum of 12 tasty toothpicks and is available as a pack of 4 bottles or a box of 24. Prices start at $19.99 for four bottles. The website says, "They may seem expensive ..." and I'd have to agree, before reading any further. Then again, my Uncle was a tooth pick. http://www.daneson.com/

Two Ventriloquists Among Highest Earning Comedians

Forbes recently released its list of the highest earning comedians. (Two of the top five are ventriloquists! I have to get a new partner.) The list was compiled based on comedians whose concert ticket sales were their primary source of income. Here are the top 10 highest earning comedians ... two of which are ventriloquists. I gotta get me a new partner.

1. Jerry Seinfeld - $32 million
2. Terry Fator - $24 million
3. Russell Peters - $21 million
4. Jeff Dunham - $19 million
5. Louis C.K. - $16 million
6. Kevin Hart - $14 million
7. Larry the Cable Guy - $13 million
8. George Lopez - $12 million
9. TIE Daniel Tosh and Gabriel Iglesias - $11 million
10. Ron White - $10 million

Why it's Tougher for Humorous Videos to Go Viral

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

It's Getting Tougher for Humorous Videos to Go Viral

Here's some interesting news from the video technology company Unruly. A recent study the firm conducted found humor just might not be the ticket to viral success any longer as consumers have become numb to the many attempts by brands to employ humor in their video and social media efforts.

That is not to say that humor does not work. According to Unruly, "brands need to be extremely funny" to succeed virally. The study, entitled Science of Sharing, limited its research to 12 commercials which aired during this year's Super Bowl.

Other findings from the study include:

  1. Wednesday is the best day to launch a campaign. On average, half (48.3%) of the weekly video shares occur between Wednesday and Friday, with the peak of shares occurring on a Friday and the lowest point being the weekend.
  2. A quarter of a video's total shares on average occur in the first three days of launch.

See more at: http://www.adrants.com/2013/07/study-claims-humor-may-no-longer-be-the.php#more

Hooters Increases Social Index Ranking 470%


In the nine months since Hooters began working with Skiver Advertising in October 2012, the restaurant chain has increased its placement on the Nation's Restaurant News Social 200 Index from 56th to 12th. The NRN Social 200 Index determines leading social media brands by evaluating audience size and reach, brand influence, customer engagement, relative movement, and lifetime aggregates. What does that mean? I have no idea. It would have been nice if they included sales figures so we could determine how relevant Social Media Ranking really is.

But one of their social media efforts did get my attention. When Seth Meyers did an SNL Weekend Update piece on Hooters with video that countered Meyers' assessment of Hooters as a sex dungeon, Hooters reacted quickly and with some humor and class.

Here's Hooters rebuttal. Well done.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Looking for something fun to do with 3 other friends this weekend that could cause great bodily harm? If so, you could fling each other around with a giant slingshot band.

Watch the video to see how to play. Basically, you slingshot yourself and 3 of your friends towards each other. You keep repeating that until someone either falls out backwards or slams into another person and breaks their nose ... or if alcohol is involved, until someone projectile vomits. Watch the video to see the Human Slingshot in action.

British Robot Generates Consumer Complaints

This is the latest commercial for Confused.com, a British price comparison website specializing in insurance and financial services. It stars the site's SpokesRobot, Brian.

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority ASA has already received 20 complaints about the ad, mainly for it being "offensive, distasteful," and "suggestive of sexual activity." I'm a little slow because I had to watch it three times before I caught what people were upset about. See if you catch it right away.

The marketing director of Confused.com, said, "Admittedly, the woman is somewhat startled by Brian appearing in the car window, having been tying her shoelace."

Whether the commercial ends up being banned or not, Confused.com has already and will continue to reap much added media "value."

For our Puppet Lovers

Here's a music video, Blurred Lines (Puppet Version). Warning: you may have a hard time getting the tune out of your head for the rest of the day.

Baci Lingerie Hunts Men


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

New Baci Lingerie Ad Hunts Men ... Feminists' Heads Explode

Baci, the French boutique lingerie brand, has launched this ad for its new women's range, which reveals what might happen if its models could hunt men. The campaign coincides with the aftermath of the French game-hunting season and promotes the pursuit of another kind of "hunt".

Can't Figure this One Out?

The print ad above is not selling popsicles. Presumably it's for the European Wax Center. But the copy confuses me: "The Sublime Lips of Lisbon $9". What's "Lips of Lisbon"? Obviously this Mannequin American is not familiar with waxing terminology. So I asked a couple lady friends of mine to explain. They couldn't. So after staring at the ad for a long, long time, and then going back to stare at it some more, I finally decided that I didn't really care what they were selling. But I have a feeling that it has nothing to do with waxing. Do you have any idea? If so email me at chip.martin@bmpr.com

How Clean do You Want to Be?

This is soap made in the shape of a ring to suds up men's hang downs. It's appropriately called Weener Kleener. Or maybe inappropriately, actually, now that I think about it. Read the small print. It's pretty funny. $4

How Badly do You Need a Drink?

Five fake tampon wrappers to smuggle five small flasks. $12. You gotta really want a shot to carry these into the ball game.


Complex Ideas Don't Get Traction on Social Media

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

Complex Ideas Don't Get Traction on Social Media. Just Ask Jennifer Lopez and Paula Deen.

Marketers need to know that complex ideas don't have much currency on most social platforms. Here's proof.

Jennifer Lopez pocketed a large chunk of change for performing in Turkmenistan. It's a horrible little country run by a repressive government that loses out only to North Korea on the tyranny top ten list. Some online commentary has dinged her for it, but there's been little real notice.

So how does J-Lo get away with profiting from a murderous dictatorship, while Paula Deen's career continues to burn because she used a derogatory word sometime during her lifetime?Welcome to the wonderful world of limited attention spans.

As Baskinbrand.com points out, J-Lo's crime (if you can call it that) is many-layered. She was hired by a state-run Chinese oil monopoly, which in itself raises human rights and environmental questions. Her host, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, is a noted thug to whom she sang "Happy Birthday," and her apology screamed insincerity since the facts about China and Turkmenistan are readily available online.

But I just exceeded 140-characters before I was halfway through the second sentence of the last paragraph ... so her indiscretion doesn't mesh well with social media. J-Lo's behavior may have been despicable, but you'd have to think about it for more than a nanosecond to get it.

Contrast that with Paula Deen's admission, while under oath in a legal deposition intended to portray her as a racist, that she used the "n-word" during her life. She admitted that she had, just like many people of her age and era. Then she went on YouTube all teary-eyed to beg forgiveness for her sins.

"Used the n-word" took 15 characters, including spaces. Her career is now in ashes.

The issue isn't political or cultural, it's technical. The medium is the message. And anything that requires more than 140-characters isn't going to get traction.

For marketers the lessons is here is that whatever we say or show has to be quick and blunt, or it will be missed or quickly forgotten. Sad but true. So KISS.

Where There Used to be Just a Dash, There's a Whole Life

I'm pretty cynical when it comes to QR codes. But this one actually made sense to me. It's an interactive obituary. Leave it to the funeral market to come up with something innovative.

Be More Dog

Sure, I've tried to cross a dog with a cat. Who hasn't? All I got for my trouble was a face full of claws and another year in therapy. Ad agency VCCP does a better job of it for U.K. mobile telecom O2 in this commercial, in which a ginger Tom starts chasing cars, fetching sticks and generally behaving like Rover.

Tabby's willingness to "Be more dog" (the spot's tagline) is supposed to inspire viewers to get out of their ruts and try new things, like products and services from O2. That stretches the leash way too much in terms of brand message. Even so, seeing a cat act more like a dog is pretty entertaining in my book ... even if it doesn't do a good job of selling the product.

Russian ATM Ad

ATM ad. Translation (it's a Russian pun) "Works Around The Clock." Clever photo, though.

NYC Wants You to Turn in Crooked Crooks

How corrupt must NYC be to post subway ads like the one above? 

Vent Haven Museum Highlighted on Kentucky.com

Above: Sisters Emma Rose, 10, left, and Greta Craner, 4, posed for their mother among a collection of dummies as they toured Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, KY, last week. The museum holds hundreds of ventriloquist dummies, puppets and memorabilia.

To a ventriloquist, Ft. Mitchell is the cultural center of the world, because that's where the Vent Haven Museum is located. My predecessor, the original Chip Martin, retired to the Museum several years ago. He now resides about 3 feet from Jeff Dunham's Peanut, Walter and Achmed the Dead Terrorist. They must have some great late-night conversations. (Trust me; that place is creepy at night.)

Kentucky.com recently highlighted the museum. You can see the article here. Take a minute to learn about my future retirement community.

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