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.

Public Utility
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder Of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Values Public Utilities But Wouldn’t Want To Work For One; photo by Gretar Ívarsson via Wikimedia Commons… The late Senator Ted Stevens once claimed that the Internet was a “series of tubes.” Now, there were many reasons to ridicule venal Ted, but his analogy wasn’t that off the mark. Yes, it was technically wrong, but many Web 2.0 companies share the same purpose as public utilities: they exist to pipe stuff to users.Read More
Kogi Food Truck tacos
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Taco Junkie… I just waited an hour-and-a-half in line for a taco. Make that 97 minutes for four tacos and two burritos, to be exact. I had started out wanting only a bite from the legendary Kogi Korean BBQ taco truck, but by the time I made it to the front of the line, I hungered for more and had to justify my adventure. There’s great marketing at work for ya…Read More
the end of free
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Believes Everything Worthwhile Has A Price… Just over a year ago, editor Chris Anderson of Wired magazine proudly proclaimed that the future would be free, an argument based partially on ad-supported free sites like NYTimes.com. Of course, it was hard to take this manifesto seriously since Wired still charges for their magazine (cover price $4.99). It was also misleading because it appeared during the height of the second dotcom bubble, when most of the free websites and services weren’tRead More
by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC A long time ago, in an Internets far far away, the people were promised a galaxy free of corporate-empire dominance, where the little guy would have a fair and equal shot at being heard, where small businesses could claim riches once envisioned only by multinationals, and where unsung individuals would finally be sung. The playing fields would all be level, and there would be many goals to shoot at…Read More
Sam Adams' Beer Dudes
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Sam Adams’ Fan and Investor… One of my more rewarding discoveries while attending college in Boston was Samuel Adams beer. In the 80’s, Sam existed primarily in New England, so after I moved to L.A., I found myself bereft and bewildered. For all its creative profligacy, Los Angeles was still dominated by the usual beer suspects: Budweiser, Miller, and Coors (the bland leading the bland). Naturally, I celebrated when Sam started appearing in L.A. bars as an “import.” Yes, there’s aRead More
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Multimedia Marketer I hear it all the time: “Advertising is a waste of money.” “If you have a great product, you don’t need to advertise.” “Word of mouth is more effective than traditional media.” “It’s impossible to cut through the clutter.” “Most consumers tune out or TiVo past commercials.” While these declarations might be true in some cases, many bullheaded companies still invest millions in advertising — and not just during the Super Bowl when everyone pays attention to the commercials.Read More
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Professional Collaborator… Collaboration: The Fine Art of Hookin’ Up Partnerships, alliances and cross-promotions date back to Eve giving Adam that “come hither” look. I once worked on a cross-promotional website between Nissan and Crayola. Apple and AT&T are now making a killing with the iPhone. You can’t buy a McDonald’s Happy Meal without some movie-related toy in the box. Unfortunately, you don’t see many small businesses or startups thinking in terms of collaborations. Here’s what they’re missing out on…Read More
Kelloggs Smacks
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + Former Sugar-Cereal Junkie… This week I had my students develop ideas for new energy drinks. Some of the health-conscious students had trouble determining how to sweeten their drinks without sugar or chemically contrived substitutes. (We Los Angelenos continuously seek ways to minimize our sugar consumption — it so clashes with our daily smog intake.) We discussed the various natural substitutes, but they’re still basically sugar, with varying levels of glucose and fructose. Specific glucose and fructose levels matter to peopleRead More
by Freddy J. Nager, Founder & Fusion Director, Atomic Tango LLC When I was a kid, the object of all crayon lust was the Crayola 64 box with the built-in sharpener, because a dull crayon was almost as bad as soggy Cocoa Pebbles. And yet, that Crayola 64 contained some bizarre colors like Maize, Burnt Sienna and the fun-to-say-but-rarely-used Raw Umber.* While Black was quickly worn to a stub — one could never have enough Black — Maize lasted longer than the Shredded Wheat that mom tried to get usRead More
Versus Network campaign
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Sports Fan… Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Versus… Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Few know about the small sports network, which I appreciate for bringing me Ivy League football. Where else could I catch the Harvard-Cornell game in L.A.? Since Versus wants more than us middle-aged marketing geeks, they’re trying to generate awareness by asking for more than a show of hands. They’re literally asking people to “Show Me Your V.” Really.Read More