12. Getting a Leg Up on the Competition: Gaining Media Visibility for an Arcane Industry Online, Through Puns and Fun on Your Website


Recycling 100,000 pounds of mannequins a year may not sound glamorous, but it's what differentiates Mannequin Madness from its competitors. The mannequin company rents and sells mannequins of all shapes and sizes to not only retailers but also trade shows, artists, students, and anyone in need of a “dummy.” And what could be a very industry-based business has a surprisingly fresh and friendly face—through its website and the myriad of media coverage it has gained over the past 10-plus years.

“We use videos, blogs, and photographs (online and offline) to promote our business,” says Judi Townsend, founder of Mannequin Madness.

Why It Works

Mannequin Madness's website is intriguing and appealing to the eye: Each section of the site is identified by a corresponding mannequin part (including the famous leg lamp from A Christmas Story). Videos from the company and CNN plead to be watched on the side of the home page.

Besides the appropriate use of bright colors and solid layout, the website (and blog) offers a plethora of information about mannequins and their history, how the company recycles its mannequins (something most of us didn't know was possible), along with links to social media and Yelp reviews. It has all the elements of a great website.

The ...

Get Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.