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    History

    • Interview With Seth Godin,<br>The Marketing Guru Action Figure

      When we were looking for a model for our Marketing Guru Action Figure, one name came up again and again: Seth Godin. In addition to his career as a world famous marketer and founder of websites, Seth also writes an extremely popular blog. He preaches the end of marketers as media buyers and instead pushes them as agents of change. In his book Purple Cow, he writes that products sell and ideas spread not because of marketing done in their name, but because they are remarkable. He mentioned us in this book, which makes it one of the greatest works of non-fiction ever written.

      His latest book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, talks about the power of having a strong following that look forward to your products. We are not mentioned in this book, but it's still a darn good read.

      To get a good feeling for the power of his ideas, we recommend you watch one of his TED talks.

      He agreed to let us ask him a few questions about having his own action figure, the state of the world and exactly how awesome Archie McPhee is. You can read his answers below.

      Archie McPhee: How has having an action figure of yourself changed your life?

      Seth Godin: You wouldn't believe it. First came the movie offers--but Brad Pitt wanted top billing, which was completely unacceptable. And of course, the groupies... Then, the inevitable crash. My hair fell out.

      AM: Has anyone questioned your sanity for having an action figure of yourself? Would you recommend it to others?

      SG: Many aspire, few are chosen. The action figure proceeds go to charity (the wonderful Acumen Fund) and I'm proud of every one you've sold. But I'm amazed that some people think that this is serious, that I actually believe that I'm a guru and that I might expect you to put this on your dashboard. I don't. However, if you want my face on your grilled cheese, that's fine with me.

      AM: What is your favorite thing someone has done with your action figure?Seth Godin Rides A Unicorn

      SG: There are some great photos on flickr of me with an Archie McPhee unicorn.

      AM: Nancy Pearl offered you the following advice: "Don't get the real you confused (in your own mind or others) with the action figure of you." Has this happened to you yet?

      SG: I have some advice for Nancy Pearl: quit hogging the action figure limelight! You outsell me. Curses!

      AM: If you had to say something awesome about Archie McPhee what would it be?

      SG: Archie McPhee is so awesome that it's not even necessary to say anything awesome about it. Are you on the bus?

      AM: Unicorns or Narwhals?

      SG: Oh, come on. Narwhals. Narwhals. Narwhals. Not only the star of the B-52s song, but an actual creature, not some chicken-sh** doll for stunted 13 year old girls.

      AM: If your action figure were to fight Mr. Bacon, who would win?

      SG: I hate Bacon. Bacon is my kryptonite.

      AM: Why does your action figure wear mismatched socks?

      SG: Because *I* wear mismatched socks. Every single day for the last four years (different socks every day, of course). You can buy yours at LittleMissMatched.com.

      AM: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

      SG: Same thing I have every single morning.

      AM: Does the word "blogosphere" irritate you? What about "webinar"?

      SG: I find it irritating if it gets in my eye. But in general, it's fairly easy to digest. Same with webinar. Word I hate the most: axe. As in, "I need to axe him."

      AM: What is the best CD you've heard this year? Best book you've read that isn't related to business or marketing?

      SG: Have you heard the CD of Amy's Answering Machine? It's magnificent. Best book? All My Friends Are Superheroes.

      AM: Have you ever walked out of a movie? Which one?

      SG: When I was filming that movie with Brad Pitt, I walked out. But that's a special case.

      I walked out of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It might have been the sound system. Or perhaps I was going to vomit.

      AM: Do you think Squirrel Underpants can fix the economy?

      SG: Ohmigod I can't tell you how important a breakthrough the Squirrel Underpants are. If we all did a webinar on them, the Dow would hit 12,000 overnight. They are amazing. (Do they come in boxers?)

      AM: Any final thoughts or stories that you want to tell?

      SG: Do your part. Buy something.

      Click on the pictures below for insight into the design and manufacture of the figure! Including Demon Eye Seth Godin and Army of Albino Seth Godins!

      Seth Godin Action Figure - Instruction to Factory Seth Godin Action Figure - Painted Prototype WIth Demon Eyes 

      Seth Godin Action Figure - Unpainted Figure Seth Godin Action FIgure Head Sculpt Comparison

    • Disturbing Novelty Cigarette Package - Realistic Cigarettes

      Realistic Cigarettes - Novelty Package - Front We have a huge museum of novelty items here at Archie McPhee headquarters and we occasionally go through them to look for new ideas. One feature of One common feature of traditional novelty packages from Japan is to draw a picture illustrating how the product is intended to be used. This gets around having to translate text and is an immediate communication of the hilarity the gag will inspire. Well, the makers of these fake cigarettes seem to have had difficulty in coming up with a funny way to use them. So, they just included an illustration of a guy putting one out on the back of a woman at a fancy dress party. But, wait a minute, is it a fake cigarette?

      It sure looks like smoke coming off of it. In any case, it's hard to imagine there was ever a time that putting out cigarettes on people was funny.

      Realistic Cigarettes - Novelty Package - Back

    • The Archie McPhee Book is here!

      Our new book, Who Would Buy This? The Archie McPhee Story, is here right now and ready to purchase. If you buy it from us, you'll get $5 off the $24.95 cover price!

      It's chock full of beautiful color pictures and the stories behind some of our most famous products. The long term fan will find many memories, the new fan will discover products that will confuse them beyond belief. How many of you still have a My Pretty Nosehair?

      Not enough of you, that's for sure.

      We'll be posting some excerpts over the coming weeks.

    • Engrish Part 1 - Magic Metal Puzzle

      We often get product samples with badly translated English on them. In this case, it wasn't so much poorly written as it was awesomely written. Unfortunately, as far as we can tell, the product does not actually possess any magical powers.

      Directions On The Back of Key Puzzle - Engrish


    • The First Archie McPhee Catalog

      Archie McPhee Catalog Cover, 1985

      To celebrate our 25th anniversary, we've scanned and posted our first catalog! The text below it is from the introduction to our upcoming book written by owner Mark Pahlow describing exactly how this catalog came to be.

      I did the primitive layout for those first few (catalogs) myself.   I'd take bad black and white photos using my Pentax 35mm Spotmatic. Then the photos, developed by the first Costco in the nation, were taken to Bozotronics in the funky Fremont neighborhood to be made into halftones. I'd cut these and paste them onto paper using rather toxic rubber cement. With an IBM Selectric typewriter, I'd type out copy to go with the images.

      The strength in those early catalogs was not in the presentation, but in the writing. Since the pictures were often dark and printed in muddy black and white on cheap newsprint, it was difficult to make out details. My descriptions of the products were often honest statements detailing how terrible the product was or rambling humorous screeds that mentioned the product only in passing. This suited my character and seemed to connect to certain eccentric members of the public. You know who you are.

      Click here to see the whole first Archie McPhee catalog.


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