fbpx

The simple fact is that marketing is partly art and partly science. Sometimes things go really right. Sometimes they go fantastically awry. By taking an unflinching look at the weird, we can begin to understand how marketing works in practice, and not just in theory.

We’ve learned a lot of strange lessons:

And we’re just getting warmed up. The world only gets weirder from here…

  • Stop Blaming The Algorithm When Your Content Doesn’t Rank

    You know what drives me nuts? People who blame “the algorithm” when their content doesn’t take off. Now I know that sounds like a personal attack, but I don’t mean it that way. Content creators who blame the algorithm are, for the most part, not lazy or even bad content […]

    Read More

  • How To Navigate The Labyrinth Of The YouTube Algorithm

    The YouTube algorithm. Never before has there been such a complicated labyrinth for content creators to navigate. It doesn’t help that there’s no exit. Every social media platform uses an algorithm to decide what to show users. There’s too much content not to. As much as I’d love to write […]

    Read More

  • This Is How The Vlogbrothers Built A Super-Friendly Empire

    On the first day of 2007, John and Hank Green started Brotherhood 2.0. The idea was simple – send each other video blogs back and forth every day for a year. The mission was simple but heartfelt: deepen their bond through the power of new media. When the year ended, […]

    Read More

  • How Unus Annus Succeeded On YouTube By Being Deleted

    What would you do if you had one year left to live? What would you leave behind in memory? These are the questions that Mark Fischbach (Markiplier) and Ethan Nestor-Darling (CrankGameplays) asked their viewers when they created the channel, Unus Annus. The idea was simple: every day they would post […]

    Read More

  • How IKEA Makes $43.6 Billion While You Build Furniture

    If you’ve been to IKEA, then you have a strong opinion on it. It’s impossible not to. IKEA stores are five times the size of a football field, arranged like dense mazes with thousands of furniture items all available for reasonable prices. Everything from the quirky Swedish names of the […]

    Read More

Does the idea of marketing a business make you feel like a little kid wearing a big lab coat?

Join over 1,000 other mad scientists. Download our FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.

  • 8 Reasons Why Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets Are Amazing Marketing

    Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is a chaotic, absurd movie. The 1971 version seemed to run all the time on TV in the 1990s and 2000s, becoming – against all odds – a staple of Millenial culture, even getting turned into a popular meme. Because we’ve all seen it […]

    Read More

  • This is How Critical Role Made Dungeons & Dragons Cool

    What happens when you gather a bunch of nerdy voice actors and one badass Dungeon Master, then have them all roll a natural 20 in showmanship? You get Critical Role, the show that has made over $9 million dollars playing Dungeons & Dragons on Twitch alone. (A shocking statistic, since […]

    Read More

  • How To Prepare Your Business for AI (GPT-3 & Midjourney)

    The machines are taking over! AI is going to replace us all! If I only had a dollar for every time I heard some version of that. Even in its early stages, artificial intelligence, or AI, feels like an imminent threat. After all, intelligence is what has truly set human […]

    Read More

  • Why People Are Adding REDDIT To Their Google Searches

    Have Google searches felt…off to you lately? A lot of people think so, and you likely know someone who adds the word “Reddit” to the end of Google searches to get better results. Just look at some of these recent headlines: Fast Company: Is Reddit a better search engine than […]

    Read More

  • How Gaming Supplements Like GamerSupps & G FUEL Make Millions

    Gam·​ers | ˈgā-mərs (noun): a subcategory of the species Homo sapiens that sits upon gaming chairs of varying colors and sizes. They are known for playing games for hours on end, often into the dead of night. Due to this, gamers are often deficient in vital vitamins and minerals needed so desperately […]

    Read More

Does the idea of marketing a business make you feel like a little kid wearing a big lab coat?

Join over 1,000 other mad scientists. Download our FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.

  • What Middle Class Fancy Tells Us About Consumer Behavior

    “It’s not the heat that’ll get you, it’s the humidity.” Such are the words of wisdom spoken by Rand, an American suburban white man in his 50s, and a recurring character on the Middle Class Fancy Instagram account. In addition to being an accurate statement about how we perceive temperature, […]

    Read More

  • 6 Reasons to Treat Your Business Like Wikipedia

    Reasons for hope seem to be in short supply these days. Politics are a mess, everything is getting expensive, and the modern internet built on social media seems to only inflame these tensions. Yet there is a website where people put aside their differences and work toward a common goal […]

    Read More

  • Marketing Alignment Chart: Lawful Good to Chaotic Evil

    In 1977, Dungeons & Dragons created the alignment chart – a simple two-axis where characters could be classified as good or evil, lawful or chaotic. Sometime in the 2010s, the idea of the alignment chart went far beyond its gaming origins, and became a piece of pop culture in its […]

    Read More

  • How RollerCoaster Tycoon Made $19.6 Million in 1999

    In 1999, Scottish video game developer, Chris Sawyer, chased a pipe dream. He was fascinated by amusement parks, and he wanted to create a game that captured the joy of being in one. Despite the fact that there wasn’t clear market demand for it, he went on to create RollerCoaster […]

    Read More

  • How Karen’s Diner Serves Up Awful Customer Service & Makes Millions

    Do you dream of being a massive jerk to people around you? Well, of course, you do. We have all had moments where you want to speak your mind or simply get stuff off your chest because you had a crap day. Thankfully, there is a magical place where you […]

    Read More

  • How on Earth is SpongeBob SquarePants Still Relevant in 2022?

    If you spend any amount of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit, odds are, you’re going to run into at least one of these SpongeBob memes. These memes along with the fact that search engine traffic for SpongeBob SquarePants has slowly but steadily increased for the last few years […]

    Read More

  • 5 Practical Lessons from the Absurd Career of Sam Raimi

    Ever try to get away to a quiet cabin in the country, only to have to fight with your demon-possessed hand as the house itself laughs at you? Well, I hope you brought along a double-barrelled shotgun and a chainsaw, buddy, because you – unfortunately – are in a Sam […]

    Read More

  • Ya Boy Kongming: A Crash Course in Social Media Marketing

    What do ancient military tactics and social media marketing have in common? Apparently a lot, according to anime Ya Boy Kongming. You might be surprised to know how much, in fact, as both have been refined and honed over years (or millennia) for maximum effectiveness. Ya Boy Kongming is a […]

    Read More

  • Daft Punk, or: Building a Massive Brand by Anti-Marketing

    Imagine building one of the most culturally significant bands of the 21st century. Now imagine doing that while experimenting radically in a genre where copying others is a proven path to success. While never showing your face. Daft Punk did just that, and their success has been remarkable. Their sophomore […]

    Read More

  • How Fortnite Weaves Brands Into The Game & Makes Billions

    Fancy vacationing on a cartoon island dressed as John Wick? What if I told you that you’d have to fight with Spiderman with a lightsaber and Ariana Grande with a grenade launcher? Well, you are in luck, because Fortnite is the getaway you’ve been looking for. Fortnite is packed with […]

    Read More

  • Why Formula 1 is So Popular Right Now

    Every nation has its great past-time. For the USA, it’s baseball. For the UK, it’s football (soccer). Getting people to pay attention to a new sport is a tall order – and that’s why Formula 1’s recent success is so stunning. On ESPN, 548,000 people tuned in to watch Formula […]

    Read More

  • How The Room Made $30 Million by Being a Terrible Movie

    Released in 2003, The Room is widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made. It holds a score of 3.7 out of 10 on IMDb and an astounding 9 out of 100 on Metacritic. Film critic, Marg Mohan, claimed that the film “oozes sincerity, which is then […]

    Read More

  • How Coffee Transformed From Common Commodity To Weird Hobby

    Of all the meetings, I have, my morning meeting with Mr. Cup Of Joe is the one I never miss. It’s a warm welcome to the morning and has always been a delicious and dopamine-inducing way to start the day. I am talking about coffee – a staple of modern […]

    Read More

  • How Costco Manages to Be Both Classy & Cheap

    In a logical world, Costco would suck. Low prices, spartan settings, and immense crowds. That’s an unholy trinity that should ruin just about any shopping experience. But it doesn’t, and I think that’s remarkable. Costco is a freakishly well-run business. Over the last weekend, I slipped into the store by […]

    Read More

  • The Twisted Reasons for Freight Shipping Delays & Shortages

    Have you seen the images of empty store shelves lately? They’re all over social media and the news. You might think that it’s the result of people panic buying, but the problems run deeper than that. Maybe you’ve seen some terms like “supply chain disruption” or even “supply chain collapse” […]

    Read More

  • Why Arcane is The Perfect Brand Expansion

    You have probably heard of the popular video game, League of Legends. At a minimum, you’ve heard the distant screams of someone losing a match. It’s unavoidable because League It is an insanely popular game with a mountain of dedicated players willing to buy figurines and other merchandise. But have […]

    Read More

  • To Understand the Metaverse, Look at Minecraft & Fortnite

    Metaverse. Web3. NFT. The year 2021 introduced the world to a lot of really complicated new technological ideas. In February and March 2021, people started talking about NFTs. Then chatter about the “metaverse” started to really take off in October, right around when Facebook changed its name to Meta. A […]

    Read More

  • How to Sell the Bubble Bots from Ron’s Gone Wrong

    Ron’s Gone Wrong is a film about the friendship between socially awkward middle-schooler, Barney, and his friend Ron. But there’s a twist: Ron is a Bubble Bot, produced by the Bubble Company, which is basically Apple. Bubble Bots, B Bots for short, are designed to be your best friend. Your […]

    Read More

  • How to Be a Wrestler, According to a Marketer

    Wrestlers put their life on the line in the ring, day in, day out to make their audiences happy. They live larger-than-life lifestyles because they want to make captivating TV with their stunning wrestling moves. They’re experts at self-promotion because they want to make you buy into the kayfabe of […]

    Read More

  • How James Bond Has Evolved & Stayed Relevant for 60 Years

    Few movie characters are as iconic, controversial, contradictory, and enduring as James Bond. It doesn’t matter who’s playing him because you recognize the character immediately. Handsome man, sharp suit, smoking gun, vodka martini in hand, and an attractive woman on his arm. James Bond has been the poster child for […]

    Read More

  • How Taylor Swift Took on the Music Industry & Won

    Taylor Swift might not have a college degree, but she has been working on her Master’s in Marketing since she was nine. And when I say “you could argue” I mean “that is what I’m going to spend the next 5,000 words pointing out.”  Swift has been the driving force […]

    Read More

  • See How A Rambling Redhead Went From Instagram to HGTV

    Redheads only make up 2% of the world’s population. And the recessive gene jackpot of a redhead with blue eyes is even smaller, at 0.17%. So what would you call someone with red hair, blue eyes, and a hilarious heart of gold? You might call her a Unicorn, but we […]

    Read More

  • WWE vs. AEW: The Wrestling Brand Smackdown of a Lifetime

    John Cena. The Rock. Hulk Hogan. The world of wrestling has cemented these names into the minds of kids and adults alike. Their names are known worldwide as are their spider webs of wrestling moments, movies, and controversies. If you pay attention, the wrestling world will teach you a masterclass […]

    Read More

  • 4 Marketing Lessons from Jingle All The Way

    What do Christmas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and action figures have in common? If you guessed Star-Lord (or even The Terminator for us older peeps), you are only half wrong. The real answer is the “classic” Christmas Movie Jingle All The Way. Totally recommend watching it if you haven’t already. But for […]

    Read More

  • How Old Spice Came Back from the Grave with One Commercial

    Hello, ladies. Look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me.  With just 43 words, Old Spice did […]

    Read More

  • Millennials Spend $33 Billion On Their Own Toys. Why?

    We all have fond memories of playing with toys when we were young. Whether it’s trading Pokemon cards or snuggling a favorite stuffed animal, it’s hard not to have at least one happy childhood toy story. Toys have been in the hearts and homes of kids for decades, centuries, even! […]

    Read More

  • This is How Buc-ee’s Turned Gas Stations into Tourist Traps

    “If you know you know.” So said the billboard in yellow block capitals on a stark black background as I was passing through my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was advertising Buc-ee’s, a gas station about an hour away. Weird marketing move, I thought, but only briefly. I’m no stranger […]

    Read More

  • This Is Why People Find Super Mario 64 Conspiracies Scary

    Did you know every copy of Super Mario 64 is personalized? Well, at least that’s the theory. It’s said that even back in 1996, Nintendo was able to create an AI that adapted to a player’s skill level, playstyle, and even desires. It’s so subtle you’d never notice it, until […]

    Read More

  • See How Cult Classic Movies Teach Us About Branding

    Do you have a favorite movie that not many people have heard of? Or do you go to a coffee shop that you wouldn’t substitute for anything else? Or, perhaps, do you have a favorite product your rave about to everyone you meet? Well, you might be in a cult […]

    Read More

  • See How Peter Thiel Destroyed Gawker with Hulk Hogan

    Facing a $140 million legal judgment, the leaders of Gawker had to face their sins. Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea to out billionaire Peter Thiel as gay in 2007. And maybe the world would have been a better place if they hadn’t released Hulk Hogan’s…private film in 2012. But […]

    Read More

  • How Anime Won the West & Why You Should Care

    Anime. You know it in one form or another. Maybe you watched it when you were young, or your kids watch it, or you’re watching it now. It’s a universal and ageless media that caters to everyone, and due to that immortality, it has expanded and evolved into every corner […]

    Read More

  • How American Girl Built a Multigenerational Business Empire with Dolls

    It was 21 years ago when I got my first American Girl Doll. As any typical 10 year old does on a July summer day, I was curled up behind my bed doing some summer reading (The Secret of Nimh, in case you were wondering). The doorbell rang, and my […]

    Read More

  • This is How Cat Cafés Took Over the World

    Imagine you walk into the bar and you order a beer. Something brushes up against your leg. You hear a meow. No, it’s not Mardi Gras and you’re not in New Orleans. You are in one of many cat cafés around the world. Yes, this is a real thing. Cat […]

    Read More

  • How Minecraft Made $2.5 Billion From Scratch

    Minecraft was created by a solo developer with a day job in 2009. The graphics are 8-bit and servers will boot you for no reason sometimes. By all accounts, Minecraft should have crashed and burned early. It is the best-selling video game of all time. Over 200 million copies have […]

    Read More

  • The Unusual Rise & Fall & Rise of Aeropostale

    I was shopping with my wife at the gardening store, looking – in true millennial fashion – for plants we can’t kill. Suddenly, apropos of nothing, I wondered “what the hell happened to Aeropostale?” Aeropostale was everywhere when I was in high school from 2006 to 2010. You couldn’t go […]

    Read More

  • The Incredible Downfall of Rax Roast Beef in 1991 (A Ghost Story)

    “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little, we went insane.” Originally spoken by Francis Ford Coppola about the filming of Apocalypse Now, I think this statement applies just as well to the marketing misadventures of Rax Roast Beef circa 1991. I’ve been fascinated […]

    Read More

  • This is How Instagram Revolutionized the Tattoo Industry Forever

    Tattoos are just about everywhere you look these days. Whether you are in a hospital, library, or even on a college campus, odds are, you can find someone who has a tattoo. A recent Ipsos poll showed that 30% of Americans had at least one tattoo in 2019, up from […]

    Read More

  • Fight Island: The Weird Way UFC Thrived in a Pandemic

    I’m glad 2020 is over, and I’m not alone. We’ve all been tested in every aspect of life in the last year, right down to the cancellation of sports. There was only one shining exception: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). They took the drastic step of moving the ring all […]

    Read More

Does the idea of marketing a business make you feel like a little kid wearing a big lab coat?

Join over 1,000 other mad scientists. Download our FREE Experimental Marketing Guide.