Doug Garnett

President, Protonik

Doug Garnett has spent his career with innovation and is an expert on using marketing to increase ROI for ground breaking consumer products distributed through online and retail outlets. Doug is the founder and President of Protonik, LLC — a consultancy focused on the unusual marketing needs of innovative products and services. Protonik works with manufacturers, brands, inventors, and retailers.

Prior to forming Protonik, Doug spent 20 years as founder and CEO of ad agency Atomic Direct. Atomic leveraged TV across all ranges of broadcast, cable and web to drive sales. Atomic’s work covered a wide range of products, but had particularly specialty with home, hardware and automotive products.

Doug taught for 13 years in the business school at Portland State University. He writes and speaks regularly about the unique challenges facing companies when they attempt to use innovative products to create demand and build brand. In addition to his role with the RetailWire BrainTrust, he is a member of the BWG Advisory board, the Response Magazine advisory board, author of the book “Building Brands with Direct Response Television,” and can be followed on Twitter @AtomicAdMan.

Doug started as a mathematician at aerospace giant General Dynamics where he worked on the Atlas-Centaur launch vehicles, the Space Shuttle, and the Tomahawk Cruise Missile program. He spent 5 years in marketing and sales of scientific supercomputers before finding his true home — in advertising for retail products. Doug has worked with Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores, Rubbermaid, AT&T, DisneyMobile, AAA of California, The Joint Chiropractic, Professional Tool Manufacturing (Drill Doctor), Kreg Tools, P&G, Apple Computer, Sears, Braun, DuPont (Teflon, Stainmaster), and Hamilton Beach.

  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Etsy

    You're absolutely right about 90 vs 30. But in this case, Amazon didn't really use their 90 seconds for very much. It's essentially a 30 second idea stretched to 90. And, sadly, Etsy kind of needs the 90 to get across their message — it feels quite crammed in and rushed — to where I don't even really "get" what Etsy is all about. So... It's probably entirely fair here because Amazon uses the :90 so poorly. But your point is absolutely correct.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    Will Americans of all colors respond to ‘Shop Black Week’?

    This is really hard for me to say, but I think they’re late to the game and I can’t see this effort succeeding. Why hard to say? Because of all the special shopping weeks that have been established, this is probably the most important one — the single one that really should be supported powerfully. My advice to the group would be to look for something fresh, new and different. There must be options which will get attention AND deliver the benefit. For example, maybe make the group more powerful (an NAACP for commerce) by getting far, far more members who put notices in their windows then communicate with the public about what it means. People should be aware of this 365 (or 366) days a year — not merely for one week.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    How does come back from its trademark battle backlash?

    I certainly don’t know who buyers are, but I don’t think they’re backcountry enthusiasts based on the assortment of products I’ve seen. So here are my thoughts:
    1. isn’t threatened by most of the people it sounds like they sued. So they need to stop taking legal action. Their trademark is as an online retail store for gear and equipment — not coffee.
    2. Backcountry should just let it settle. Be quiet — let the activists settle themselves down. It will die off.
    Note that I say all this as one who has spent plenty of time in the backcountry. As long as they keep offering good products for good value and with good support, they’ll be just fine. This seems to me to be a case where taking themselves and the response too seriously can only make things worse.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Etsy

    I’ll give this competition to Amazon. The Etsy slot is a rehash of a creative that is old and tired (“here’s to...”) and that’s too bad. Feels quite out of date. And the items they show don’t have much “Etsy” uniqueness about them. It works too hard turning Etsy into just one more store. Amazon is clever, catchy and well focused on the box, delivery, Amazon employees, and people all coming together. That said, I wasn’t comfortable with specifically how they animated the smile. Too often the viewer has to work hard to see the logo on the box as a mouth and remember it’s a gag around the smile.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    CBD and plant-based meats are the next big things in store brands

    What? Plant-based protein store brands already? Nothing says “fad” like a product which moves from “the unique unicorn revolutionizing meat business” to “generic” within 12 months. The best thing for retailers is to offer and promote the products. But take care. These are short-lived fads that will die quickly.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should Santa be a loyalty program perk?

    I can’t imagine a more effective way to anger consumers and hurt your brand. Santa Claus and the Grotto are assumed values offered to Harrods shoppers. Taking away something as sacrosanct as Santa Claus is incredibly bad marketing. The issue isn’t merely low income. They are taking the benefits away from ALL shopper children at all income levels — based entirely on spending. Shame on Harrods. And this move will probably prevent the implementation of far smarter ideas for controlling the crowds — like advance scheduling open to all.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Will a hack ruin Macy’s Christmas?

    Consumers are becoming immune to these announcements because they’ve been coming so constantly and from such big players. Certainly “consumer groups” will raise a fuss. It isn’t likely to affect Macy’s holiday sales performance. But we should expect it to be one of the reasons Macy’s gives for missing their holiday numbers. As to other steps? The security business should stop trying to sell the myth that it’s possible to eliminate all breaches and accept they are inevitable. That would mean a shift to minimizing exposure of data when there IS a breach.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Chick-fil-A Foundation changes charitable giving and controversy follows

    From things I hear, Chik-fil-A is also getting tremendous pressure from constituents' wishes. After all, companies don’t become this big without having a great many LGBTQ and LGBTQ-respecting employees. They picked two good organizations to use to make a statement — but also seem to have decided they needed to be so dramatic that they’re poking the tiger in the eye with those who are loyal to Chik-fil-A for some kind of “connection with the founder's values.” And... This is why highly public moral stances are rarely smart (regardless of the side of the issue they come down on). The company always sets itself up for far bigger problems in the future — and rarely has the moral impact they wish they had.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Can a Soho pop-up relaunch Tupperware’s party?

    Were Tupperware to mount a major initiative to invade retail, they might have a chance. They do, after all, continue to make a premium re-usable container — at least that’s been my experience. That said, this would take tremendous focus and they’d need to run a TV campaign to get back on the map. That might simply be too much for them to engage with (as I’ve seen with many clients who need to make a big public change evident). A store in Soho? That’s a nicety but it isn’t enough. Seems to me that they either need to focus small with expensive and premium product or go big, mass, and on TV. There is no middle for them.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Are Americans ready for a DTC shopping holiday?

    There are so many special shopping days now that even we industry insiders can’t keep track of them. It boggles the mind that anyone expects that consumers are caring about these shopping days. U.S. shoppers are now faced with a Macy’s-like situation (at least in the PNW): Every weekend is a sale weekend. And that means sales lose their effectiveness yet we can’t give them up, because we’ve set consumer expectations that they’re always going to be able to get a deal. Fortunately, DTC with extensive over-spending behind it is a short-lived trend. Soon the market will adjust and go back to normal with some smart DTC companies who then shift to retail for scale.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    Dunkin’ introduces online holiday pop-up

    Agree. I end up with more serious problems when they discuss “the Dunkin’ Lovers in your life.” They need cool, interesting gear wrapped around their logo that anyone might want — not the mythology of the highly involved brand enthusiast. Dunkin’ mostly appeals to a soft (and very potent financially) brand loyalty — not enthusiasts. The only way to reach them well is NOT to believe they are enthusiast. I’ve just been going over this with my consumer behavior students — shoppers are brand polygamous ... The truth is they may prefer a brand but tend to buy many. There may be short period where they gain more enthusiasm, but those don’t last (and shouldn’t be the focus of marketer hopes).
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    Will a purpose-driven site do good for Zappos?

    It’s a good headline getting strategy. But I’ll predict it will have a short life. Among the major issues here? This idea shouts “use more plastic” and no matter how much they claim to use recycled materials, they will use more plastic in order to build these products. And, in the long run, people care first and foremost about good products ... then will like to buy those which fit their ethical hopes. So it’s probably a nice thing to do, involves serious questions about whether it matters, and in the end will close up sooner rather than later.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    What will happen now that Five Below has gone above $5?

    Fully agree. Their experience also points out the problem with naming and branding that’s far too narrow. It’s all fine ... until you can no longer be exactly. TV Channels have given us some of the worst of these and yet survive. MTV no longer seems to have much (if anything) to do with music. And it still keeps an audience and sells a lot of advertising. Yes, they’ll do fine. But we need to be far more cautious about names that are this specific. There are many more ways to say “inexpensive.”
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Is ‘OK Boomer’ a merchandising opportunity?

    Despite approaching an age-that-shall-not-be-mentioned, I certainly don’t feel one way or the other about the “OK Boomer” fight. My opinion about it for merchandise? I think we’re all going to be pleased and/or surprised by how very, very short-lived the fad is. Remember, it comes to us from Tik Tok -- a fad generating a fad. Can we just get back to focusing on creating good businesses, keeping them well stocked with important merchandise, and delivering customer service?
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Are mixed reality apps set to skyrocket?

    This seems to be fundamentally a response to the truth that virtual reality is a bust as a mass market product so there’s a whole lot of dead technology sitting around. We should expect that just like virtual reality, mixed reality will have selective applications but none will be mass market. Why would it be any different? Do we forget that gamers (a very tech-obsessed market) have already voted with their wallets NO and virtual reality fizzled? Just as the Segway ended up the device of mall cops and factories, the spin offs from virtual reality will be truly excellent in very narrow applications.

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