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Archive for Sunday, July 15th, 2012 07:22 pm GMT -5

A Weekend of progress!

Sunday, July 15th, 2012 07:22 pm GMT -5

Been working on the proof of concept build of the “Construction Worker” animatronic character. So many things wenty wrong – but there were a ton of things that went right. In the end – I couldn’t ask for a better “Beta test”!


I can’t even put into words all I learned this weekend. One thing I am proud to say is that my new focus of remaining patient when I am frustrated worked out a lot better than my previous “scrap it and start over” way of doing things!

So, here’s the first peek at the Construction Worker….



Free press!

Thursday, July 5th, 2012 07:22 pm GMT -5

Billboards are eye-catching, some say

The mannequins on Apple Automotive Group’s billboards have been grabbing attention.
Updated:   07/05/2012 05:29:16 PM EDT


An Apple Automotive advertisement features a mannequin that has prompted some drivers to do a double-take. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – PAUL KUEHNEL)

An Apple Automotive advertisement features a mannequin on Interstate 83 near the Sherman Street bridge. Another mannequin is on a billboard near the Shrewsbury exit. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – PAUL KUEHNEL)


York, PA – A mannequin dressed in a bright yellow jumpsuit standing on top of a billboard caught the eye of Amanda Snyder during her commute on Interstate 83 from York to Baltimore.

The first time she saw it near the Shrewsbury exit, Snyder said, she noticed that construction crews were working on a bridge nearby.

She was looking to see if they had planted a guy on top of the billboard. It’s very realistic-looking, she said.

“It really does catch your eye,” Snyder said.

The mannequins have appeared on two of the Apple Automotive Group’s billboards along Interstate 83 — one near the Plank Road bridge and another near the Sherman Street bridge.

Both bridges are being replaced and remain under construction.

“That was not by design,” Matt Kugle, chief operating officer of Apple Automotive, said of the mannequins placement close to construction zones. “That was completely coincidence.”

Apple Automotive tries to come up with unique ways to attract attention to its billboards. It has used big, fiberglass noses in its advertisements in the past, Kugle said.

While traveling in the South, Kugle said, he saw a billboard with a mannequin and thought it was a fabulous idea.

It’s not as easy, though, as taking a mannequin from a department store and standing it on top of a billboard, Kugle said. It has to be able to withstand the elements.

Apple Automotive asked Chris Giffen, service manager with Apple Ford, to build the mannequins. He owns Sinister Shadows and builds props for haunted houses.

Giffen built the roughly 6-foot mannequins using solid steel, 1/2-inch rods welded together, urethane foam and a plastic polyurethane. He said he wanted it to be able to withstand a tornado, hurricane or a strong storm blowing through the area.

Most people don’t realize how much the sun would bleach the clothing, so the mannequin is coated with a UV protectant. It helps to reflect the UV light so that the clothing doesn’t fade and the plastic doesn’t degrade.

It also had to be sealed to keep the water out and to prevent bees from building nests in it, Giffen said.

Apple Automotive had considered having the mannequin sit on the ledge of the billboard, but the business worried that it would look so real that York County 911 would receive phone calls.

Some readers on Facebook called it “distracting.” It’s certainly not Apple Automotive’s intent to create a safety or distraction issue, Giffen said.

The business has received feedback about the signs. Some thought it was a worker. Many think it’s “cool,” Kugle said.

“It’s accomplished the goal,” he said.

Comments on Facebook about the sign

Readers shared their thoughts about the mannequin on the Apple Automotive billboard. Here’s what they had to say:

— Theresa Young: The one on I-83 by the bridge they are working on now has a port-a-potty right by him. I thought it was nice that they gave him a bathroom. He is up there day and night. LOL. We also think the Budweiser horse takes him a six pack once and while. 😛 We love these signs, but it did freak us out at first.

— Leighanne Gibble: THANK GOD it wasn’t just me. My boyfriend thought I was losing it when I thought he was real…

— Rebecca Kinley Myers: It is very distracting! I looked three times…and I was driving! Drivers don’t need anything else to distract them. It’s gonna cause an accident…just sayin!

—  Susan Lynd: Thought it was real at first as well…sure grabs your attention!

— Jennifer Taylor Morris: I did a double take, but I don’t know what the billboard is for. So not the most effective advertising method.

— Samantha Jasinski: It’s stupid and distracting. It’s right by a construction area, which is already distracting. It’s an accident waiting to happen!

— Chris Baublitz: Scared the crap out of me, thought what is that man doing up there and what is he looking at. Then I laughed, when I saw it was fake.

— Jim Slaugh: Hey. The signs are funny. I still think the old Apple sign was missing something, like legs coming out of the nose like the movie Space Balls.

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