Marketing Category



From case studies to critical analysis, we go behind the hype to show you what’s new, what’s noteworthy, and what’s nonsense. This section covers all aspects of marketing: advertising, branding, design, SEO, social media, overall business strategy, and more. Sometimes serious, occasionally satirical, frequently skeptical, never stale.

So there’s this common symbol that’s being used to justify everything from industrial pollution to obscene spending. No, I’m not talking about the letter “W” — that’s become a punchline. I’m referring to the once humble and inoffensive % sign, now exploited as a tool of self-righteous justification. I stumbled across two flagrant examples of % abuse in the past few days alone…Read More
Discover Card junk mail offer
by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Actually Likes Direct Mail Offers… You gotta love asterisks* — those little stars that tell you some juicy bits of information are lying far from the statement you just read. The late great novelist David Foster Wallace turned the footnote into a powerful literary tool: “notes and errata” make up nearly 100 pages of his 1079-page novel Infinite Jest, and they’re as compelling to read as the main body of the novel itself. Then I got a massive jestRead More
by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango… Originally published September 30, 2008. Reflecting on Monday’s abject failure of the Wall Street Bailout bill, it would be totally remiss of me not to say it: Could the marketing of that bill have sucked more? First, there’s the nickname: “Wall Street Bailout.” Who came up with that and how was it allowed to stick around?Read More
all the buzz
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Social Media Realist; bee photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash… I recently had lunch with an entrepreneur to discuss her marketing problems. She had launched her company with PR, and the initial results included major media coverage and a torrent of traffic to her site, but that torrent dried to a trickle as the press and consumers lost interest. In just a couple of years her company had become “old news.” Since her operations were now sucking up all her availableRead More
PR + advertising = ice cream
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Integrated Marketing Advocate; photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash… I have a serious weakness for ice cream. GOOD ice cream. As in 200% butter-fat-full-sugar-with-no-artificial-ingredients ice cream that makes me break into R-rated facial expressions and one-man gospel choruses. (Yeah, you don’t want to witness that.)Read More
Meryvns' "Declare Your Style" Campaign
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + Marketing Forensics Practitioner… As an L.A. interactive-media guy, I’m expected to blog about sexy new developments online or in Hollywood, but today I’m writing about Mervyns department store. And, yes, that’s the only time you’ll ever see the words “sexy” and “Mervyns” in the same sentence. Ah, I see I just lost 98% of this article’s readers, which reflects the same percentage of consumers who couldn’t care less about the fashion retailer. And that explains why Mervyns recently declared bankruptcy.Read More
dotcom lemonade
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Survivor of Multiple Dotcoms; Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash… So I’m walking through my neighborhood counting the foreclosure signs when I develop this mighty thirst. Fortunately, I find a lemonade stand run by an enterprising six-year-old named Zucky. Just as I’m about to pay $4 for a cup (obviously, Zucky graduated from the Starbucks Preschool of Management), I see another lemonade stand across the street run by another enterprising six-year-old. This one, however, has a sign saying “Free Lemonade.”Read More
Unilever's Fair & Lovely
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + No Fan of Double Standards… Delia Rose is mad as hell. The L.A. teenager is calling for a boycott of Unilever. The reason? The skin-whiteners that the corporate behemoth distributes and promotes in Malaysia and other Eastern countries…Read More
Trump Vodka
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Wishes His Personal Name Were “Atomic Tango”… I recently read a book that recommends naming your company after yourself to make your brand “authentic.” Hmm… Freddy Nager Productions? Uh, no — sounds like a nightmare on Elm Street. My personal name issues aside, here’s my advice to all other entrepreneurs: If you plan to remain a small operation (like a law practice), you might consider naming your company after yourself. Otherwise, create a name that’s original and creative. Sure,Read More
BCG Matrix
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Occasional Dog Lover… When the economy gets rough, many businesses cut their marketing. Now, as a devoted reader of this blog, you know that’s a big mistake. The best time to launch a full-on marketing offensive is when the competition is crying and cowering like Dick Cheney during a terrorist attack. But, alas, you have no choice. Most of your cash is going to fixed costs, like rent. So a cutting we go — but where? Do you use your handfulRead More