American Apparel’s Director of Marketing Ryan Holiday on How to Market Your Brand By Manipulating the Press

In the age of new media where small brands and independent artists are given an outlet to compete with big corporations with endless marketing budgets, creativity in marketing campaigns has become more important than ever. It is for this very reason that American Apparel has been able to organically build so much awareness and popularity while spending less than a fraction of what other major clothing companies spend on marketing annually.

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Meet Ryan Holiday: he has been the director of marketing for American Apparel since he was 21 years old (he is 25 now) and has been at the forefront of all its creative marketing campaigns. His take on optimal marketing is one that is unconventional: create content that is controversial and gets people talking. Check out American Apparel’s recent website advertisement below for an example (note: we’ve censored the nudity):

Apart from his work with American Apparel, Holiday is also the man behind the viral marketing campaigns for wildly successful authors like Tucker Max, Robert Greene and Tim Ferriss. Some of his unconventional marketing campaigns include his orchestration of the vandalism of his own client’s movie billboard, which ended up building so much buzz and publicity that major news outlets reported on it. His strategy for implementing controversy to manipulate the press for his clients’ benefit is outlined and explained in his own New York Times bestselling book, “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator.”

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ryan Holiday for an exclusive interview in which he talked about marketing on a lower budget, whether controversy is an effective way to advertise, and the one this that makes people share your content online.

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