Doug Garnett’s Atomic Blog



Doug Garnett is a respected expert in brands, advertising, product introductions, and television. Through his writing and speaking, Doug explores the power brands and retailers build by advertising innovative products.

Beyond his blog, Doug writes for a range of publications and speaks to industry audiences about advertising, innovation, and new products. He spent 12 years as an adjunct instructor of general advertising in the School of Business Admin at Portland State University. He is on’s BrainTrust, the BWG Advisory Board, and Response Magazine’s Advisory Board. His first book, “Building Brand with Direct Response Television” was released in 2011.

Why Innovative Products?

Over the course of his career, Doug Garnett has participated in some of the leading innovations of our time. With degrees in mathematics, Doug started in space exploration and defense then explored the microprocessor revolution, human-computer interface design and supercomputers before shifting to advertising for consumer products.

Doug’s background has led to unique insights about consumer products and communication. For 25 years he has applied his vision to products ranging from satellite TV to hand tools and patio furniture, and from Internet appliances to smart home tech, cookware coatings and automotive chemicals.

Through this work, Doug has discovered three truths about the challenges facing companies generating brand and financial returns on innovative products:

  1. Innovation literature is glaringly weak when it comes to advertising – especially in consumer markets. Innovation books may lay out the process leading up to product releases, but they leave out communication – one key to new product success.
  2. Ad Agencies aren’t experienced with innovative products. Traditional agencies may be skilled with brand or promotional advertising, but neither approach delivers the ROI that innovative products deserve.
  3. Innovative products aren’t delivering ROI power. Without advertising, consumers don’t trust an innovative product to deliver value (and often don’t even know it exists). If consumers don’t understand your product’s value before entering the store, only a rare few products have any hope of success.

These truths led Doug to found Atomic Direct in 1998 — an advertising agency dedicated to making innovative products pay off in the home, hardware, and automotive markets.

 To book Doug for an industry or company lecture, visit the “Request Lecture” page.


  • Posted: April 1, 2017 08:27

    Robert Clark

    I was surprised by this statement in your blog post from Nov. 2016 on Amazon's Q3 profits: "It also means (as we see with most digital adventures) that Amazon will likely “pivot” at some point (maybe in 3-5 years) and their retail equivalent market will go away – In the meantime, what kind of damage will they do?" Amazon's retail represents the biggest part of their revenue and it's the signature part of their identity. It would be really surprising if they simply decided to forgo that. Have any other analysts suggested they would eliminate that segment of their business? Bob Clark
    • Posted: April 3, 2017 18:46

      Doug Garnett

      Bob - Excellent question and glad I could surprise you. The Wall Street Journal has begun to question how Amazon can continue to lose vast sums of money on the majority of it's revenue. My thought offered in the blog post just takes this the next step. Essentially, in response to the WSJ, Amazon doesn't have too many options. They could seek to reduce that big piece of revenue - but that's not likely a successful strategy. So what they really need to do is find a way to make it profitable. Based on a series of analyses, it does not seem viable for them to make a profit on that chunk of revenue UNLESS they become a primarily brick and mortar company. And, in the months that have passed since I wrote the post, I believe we are seeing them take those steps. Bookstores, convenience stores, local retail outlets... My sense is you think I'm a out on a limb. And you're right - Amazon's phenomenal PR machine has spun quite a story and few are challenging it. But I'm willing to go out on the limb knowing that I'm at least part right. Where they actually end up will be different from what I suggest but ALSO quite different from where Amazon's self-spun mythology tells us. I'm trying to get people to start seriously thinking about Amazon - what's the REAL scoop behind the mythology? Thanks for the question! ...Doug