Origin Story

Freddy Tran Nager

Freddy Tran Nager
Founder | Professor | Creative Strategist

For over three decades, I’ve crafted marketing strategies and creative media for companies and clients around the globe, including Fortune 500 firms, foreign enterprises entering the U.S. market, individual execs and entrepreneurs. One of my favorite projects entailed planning an influencer marketing campaign for an interactive zombie movie.

Beyond the boardroom, I teach marketing communication at the University of Southern California, where I also serve as the Associate Director of the M.S. in Digital Social Media program.

I’ve also given talks to entrepreneurs in China, marketers in New Orleans, and renaissance women in Houston. I’ve been interviewed by Bloomberg (NY), Marketplace (American public radio), The Guardian (UK), Les Affaires (Canada), and Sondag (Finland), to name a few.

Time For Launch

In 2007 — or, as I prefer to say, ‘007 — I found himself at a Silicon Valley networking event. I had recently received my MBA in Marketing & Entrepreneurship from USC, and the assembled entrepreneurs sought my insights on creativity and strategy. As a result, I landed my first client before even starting my company.

I quickly returned to L.A. and launched Atomic Tango LLC, which combines the creativity of an advertising boutique with the strategy of a management consultancy. “Tango” refers to the intimate dance between creativity and strategy (“it takes two…”), and “Atomic” evokes the mid-century modern era, when my father was a jet-setting PR pro, and Sean Connery was the best Bond ever. The mission statement came naturally:

“Stir the imagination and leave the competition shaken…”

Atomic Tango has since evolved to include multiple divisions, including a publishing wing and a new ventures incubator, and I’m regularly scheming even more ways to stir things up (ideally with a swizzle stick). ¡Viva la evolucion!

The Early Years + Beyond

Born in Vietnam, I spent my childhood in a small town in Oregon, attended high school in Taiwan, then studied at Harvard, where I received an honors degree in East Asian Studies and Sociology.

I then jetted out to L.A., where I became the sole copywriter for major music label MCA Records (now part of the Universal Music Group). There I created ads for such acts and albums as Tom Petty, BB King, Mary J. Blige, and the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. In 1994, I directed one of the world’s first entertainment websites, the acclaimed AMP: MCA Records Online.

As a digital media veteran in 1996, I was recruited by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi to serve as Sr. Copywriter for Toyota interactive marketing, including their award-winning website. In this role, I also created one of the web’s first User Generated Content campaigns.

After winning multiple awards at Saatchi, I left to join digital agency Magnet Interactive, where I worked on Nissan and Infiniti, and led a twisted business pitch that landed the National Lampoon account.

Over the ensuing years, I content-directed the world’s first infomercial-zine (IZ), launched a pioneering sports blog, created a national buzz for the NFL on Fox launch, served as a writer’s assistant on a TV sitcom, acted in avant-garde theatre, and helped a viral video director land on David Letterman‘s show.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, watching too much football (go Steelers and Trojans!), shooting pool, and herding my flock of cats.

Want to join me as a client or collaborator? Then drop me a line.



  • AB Harvard University (East Asian Studies & Sociology)
  • MBA University of Southern California (Marketing & Entrepreneurship)

Key Professional Roles:

  • Atomic Tango LLC, Founder (current)
  • Saatchi & Saatchi, Sr. Interactive Copywriter (Toyota)
  • MCA Records/Universal Music Group, Copywriter & Website Editor
  • Magnet Interactive, Sr. Content Director (Nissan, Infiniti, National Lampoon)

Awards + Recognition:

  • Adweek
  • Channel Seven Online
  • Communication Arts
  • HOW Design
  • Interactivity
  • International Automotive Ad Awards (2-time winner)
  • Logo Lounge
  • Lulu Awards
  • One Show
  • Saatchi & Saatchi creative award
  • Step Inside Design
  • Wow! Book
  • ZD-NET

Public Speaking:

  • American Marketing Association (New Orleans)
  • California China Summit
  • CCEE (ecommerce conference in China)
  • Erka x USC Social Ecommerce Event
  • Fitness MBA Summit
  • Global Innovation Fellows
  • National Broadcasting Society AERho Convention
  • OnePiece Work Global Entrepreneurship Panel
  • Regional Independent School Communicators
  • Renaissance Women Summit (Houston)
  • SoGal Influencer Summit
  • Taste of China Awards (Silicon Valley)
  • USC Alumni Association Social Entrepreneur Forum

Freddy Tran Nager on LinkedInEven more on LinkedIn