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…

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What the UFC’s Fight Island Taught Me About Running a Business

Sports were cancelled in 2020 (as if it weren’t bad enough already). Except for the UFC, who moved their fighters to a literal Fight Island.

How Instagram Changed the Tattoo Industry

Instagram revolutionized the tattoo industry. The days of walking into a shop and flipping through a binder of tattoo designs are gone.

Why a Rambling Redhead is Taking Over the Internet

Her website’s home page title: “Who Is This Redhead And Is She An Alcoholic? The Answer May Surprise You.”

But the Rambling Redhead isn’t just a fun person on Instagram – she’s very skilled at influencer marketing. We have a lot to learn from her!

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.” This is the story of how Rax Roast Beef died.

First time marketing your small business?
We know marketing can be confusing. Download our free marketing checklist for advice.

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 slathered in a thick coating of oblivious narcissism, and sadly serves as an example that not everyone should follow their bliss.”

It earned $30 million on a $6 million budget. Most of that went right into director Tommy Wiseau’s pockets. In other words, he got the last laugh.

The 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 ten minutes without seeing someone wearing one of their ostentatiously-branded shirts. Yet now, it’s really, really hard to find a teenager wearing their clothes.

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 been sold. Microsoft bought it for $2.5 billion all the way back in 2014.

Oh, and over 126 million people play it every month.

How Delta Air Lines Has Survived 96 Years of the Brutal Aviation Industry

The airline industry is an unspeakably difficult one. As of 2021, there are 18 major passenger airlines in the United States. The list of airlines that have died is so long that it takes up four separate Wikipedia articles for the US alone.

Yet Delta Air Lines has been operating continuously since 1925. That’s so long ago that there are barely people alive still who were alive then. By most accounts, the invention of the airplane itself was not but twenty-two years prior on the sandy beaches of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

First time marketing your small business?
We know marketing can be confusing. Download our free marketing checklist for advice.

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, you’re not in Mardi Gras. You are in one of many cat cafés around the world.

Yes, this is a real thing. Cat cafés are magical places where you can enjoy your lunch or coffee with furry friends surrounding you.

How American Girl Built a Multigenerational Business Empire with Dolls

The American Girl company built an empire. Out of dolls. And it’s lasted for generations. Here’s the secret behind their enduring success.

First time marketing your small business?
We know marketing can be confusing. Download our free marketing checklist for advice.