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.

brontosaurus skeleton
While it's easy to blame the economy for business struggles, times like these also present a ripe opportunity for struggling businesses to reassess what they're doing. One classic perspective on reassessing a struggling business -- or an entire industry -- is "Marketing Myopia" by the late great marketing guru Ted Levitt...Read More
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Member of a Few Segments… A few years ago, my wife and I strolled into Forth & Towne, a new fashion chain from Gap Inc. targeting women over age 35. It was solemn and dignified with muted lights and muted music — and muted people. While other stores in the mall percolated with excited shoppers (this was 2006), the spanking new Forth & Towne saw its handful of customers browsing quietly, as if they were preparing to pay respects to anRead More
Pomegranate Phone
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Misses Flip-Phones… Now here’s a site that takes borrowed interest to a new extreme. The Pomegranate Phone is an all-in-one device that makes the iPhone look like a hockey puck. It’s good for everything but use as a floor wax or dessert topping: web surfing, MP3 player, video projector, voice translator… Cool, right? Then, of course, there’s the built-in coffee maker, harmonica, and a shaver for eliminating those pesky five o’clock shadows… Yeah, it’s not a real phone. ButRead More
competition
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Has Weathered Some Economic Downturns; photo by Chris Sabor on Unsplash… Tough times like these separate the plucky from the certifiably pluckless. Plucky companies see economic turmoil as a ripe opportunity to crush weaker competitors. The pluckless see a shrinking economy and resort to shrinkage themselves: they reduce their services and their advertising till they’re but a shriveled husk of what they once were…Read More
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Really Does Like Ads… As this economy continues to just lie there, unmoving and unappetizing as cold turkey giblets, some businesses are trying to save money by re-airing their old holiday commercials. After all, those ads cost a lot to produce, so why not wring the last morsel of value from them?Read More
Obama logo
by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Proud Obama Supporter… One of marketing’s primary responsibilities is to make your brand stand out from the competition — ideally in a good way. So even though I’m a marketer who supports Obama, I’ve hesitated to write about Obamarketing, because every other marketer with a blog (99.9% of all marketers) has already done so. Back in mid-October, Advertising Age crowned Obama “Marketer of the Year” based on a survey of its readers — which would have looked awfully silly had heRead More
Super Bowl Single Girl
by Freddy Tran Nager + Guy Who Watches The Super Bowl For Both The Footbal AND The Ads… How can you exploit the Super Bowl without spending millions for a 30-second commercial?Read More
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 Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Usually 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