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PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                                                               
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2021

TROOPER, PA:  Frank Gussoni, Co-Owner and CEO of A3 MediaCo, LLC. is proud to announce a pilot of SocialShelf with The GIANT Company, based in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. “We are extremely pleased to be joining forces with The GIANT Company, a local company and an industry leader!”  The ninety-day pilot is due to begin in mid-December at 15 GIANT stores in suburban Philadelphia for the implementation of Social Shelf.

SocialShelf® is an in aisle and ecommerce advertising tool, built to supply shoppers with relevant information on smaller and mid-size brands, before making their final buying decision. It’s like having a knowledgeable salesperson in every aisle.

“Nothing is forced on the consumer, that’s annoying. It’s not intrusive in anyway,” says, Gussoni. “It’s on demand and very social in nature. It’s not meant to be slick or salesy.”  SocialShelf® allows a brand to speak to a consumer one on one and deliver authentic differentiating information that brands want potential consumers to know, before making their buying decisions.

“I don’t believe brands could find a more opportune time to speak to a consumer. The consumers are shopping, curious, and requesting the information before making their purchase. Does it get much better than that?”

SocialShelf® is A3’s answer to a quest Gussoni has been on for more than a decade. To create an affordable advertising tool that builds brand loyalty, is free of digital fraud, and allows smaller quality companies to compete with larger national brands, while only paying for actual results. It guarantees a brand’s advertising budget is never wasted or untraceable. Media is trackable by message, retailer, date, and time.

“We decided to jump into the hardest category right out of the gate, alcohol. With it being so competitive and heavily regulated, if we can make it there, we believe we can make it everywhere in retail.”  “Utilizing what we learn from these beta tests, will help us walk before we run.” 

For additional brand or retailer information, please contact A3 Media, at sales@socialshelf.net or 855-466-8584. Learn more at www.socialshelf.net.

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Man holding a sneaker in front of camera making a influencer marketing video blog

While the second half of 2021 is up in the air with the recent “Delta Variant” of COVID-19, the first half of the year saw the transition back to what most would consider, normal. Businesses started to open their doors to ½ – full capacity, gyms and movie theaters welcomed customers back, and businesses started to increase their advertising spend. With 2020 seeing a major decline in money spent on media budgets, influencer marketing was initially hit hard in Q1 & Q2 seeing, but saw an uptick in spend in Q3 & Q4 according to influencermarketinghub.com. A quick definition of influencer marketing from an earlier blog on www.a3media.com, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts. This doesn’t immediately raise a red flag that it would be affected, but campaigns that are promoting center events, store openings, vacations, anything related to being there physical in person was affected. What saw great success where industries that focused on home improvement, home fitness, and cooking. With 2021 slowly inching back to pre-COVID days, let’s look to see if influencer marketing followed 2020’s Q3 & Q4 bounce back.

Prior to getting into 2021, lets recap campaigns throughout 2020 influencer marketing across the US. As previously stated, Q1 & Q2 were hit hard. By the end of 2019, Q4 saw influencer marketing rise to 2,110 campaigns across the US, a number that rose each quarter, but 2020 saw that number decrease to 1,945 in Q1 and then to 1,575 in Q2. As the year progressed, the change in momentum happened, and Q3 saw the number of campaigns rise to 2,163, and Q4 ended with 2,901. A massive increase from Q2 to Q4 with the year ending. Why this move, people started to adapt to the new norm, and industries, such as home fitness, saw a massive increase in sales and businesses took full advantage.

With the number of campaigns increasing in the second half of 2020, the projections for 2021 followed suite, with a 30% growth projected at $3+ billion spent in 2021, and early reports of $4+ billion in 2022 according to emarketer.com. One industry that has a lot to do with the increase in money & campaigns is the travel industry, who over the past few years have relied heavily on influencer marketing. Over 2020, the travel industry lost 1.3 trillion dollars in export revenue worldwide, so as destinations open their doors back to tourists, it made sense for them to utilize influencer marketing to promote traveling. What is key for the travel industry is to build trust, while people are getting stir crazy and are loosely planning trips with loved ones, a large concern was/is still getting sick. Destinations & hotels need to highlight the measures they’re taking to keep their visitors safe. By highlighting the measures they’re taking, it gives the customer a sense of relief that if they decide to follow through with their trip, they can do it safely.

2021 has been a strong year for influencer marketing and is poised to finish out the year strong and reach its projection of $3+ billion dollars, but as we have come to be familiar with, 2021 could finish the year differently. The increased risk of the “Delta Variant” has the chance to alter some of these projections, but if industries & business remain open, we should not see a hit to influencer marketing. The industry made it out of 2020 alive and saw 2021 continue to grow, with projections of 2022 to be even bigger. Influencer marketing post COVID proved to still be a viable option even with an early hiccup in 2020, as long as industries continue to adapt, businesses & agencies will continue to spend money.

Reading Time: 6 minutes
The NCAA Logo on top of background of money with basketball and football icons

The previous nomenclature for the letters NIL meant “Zero” and was reserved for describing a zero-point total in sports such as Soccer. “Times they are a-changing.”

Background

Today, the same letters represent the acronym NIL meaning Name, Image, and Likeness, which refers to the recent change in rules by the NCAA in how it will now allow amateur Student/Athletes to profit from their own Name, Image, and Likeness on the open market, rather than simply forfeiting those profits to the NCAA, and the colleges and universities they attend.

This recent change of heart by the NCAA is triggered by many factors, not least of which is the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 21, 2021 that the NCAA’s rules restricting education related benefits were illegal and they emphasized the point with a unanimous decision.  As voiced by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, “Nowhere else in America can business get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate”. Judge Kavanaugh further expounded by saying, “Under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.”

A Few Points to Consider:

  • The original defined purpose of the restrictions on Student/Athletes from profiting from their Name, Image, and Likeness was that it might unduly influence amateur sports and was based upon the prevailing belief that “college athletes are not professionals and therefore do not need to be compensated as such.” 
  • The NCAA, seeing the writing on the wall, have lobbied congress to pass a nationwide NIL law, to avoid a state-by-state patchwork of rules and laws. Fearing this could create an imbalance in recruiting advantages between competing colleges simply based on the state in which they reside.
  • Congress has failed to pass this nationwide law. To compound this, the recent ruling by the Supreme Court forced the NCAA’s hand to enact this rule change on July 1st, 2021.
  • On June 30, 2021, the governance bodies of all three divisions adopted a uniform interim policy suspending the NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports. This was done in hopes to avoid conflicts created by a patchwork of rules and laws being passed by the states, since Congress failed to act.

    These policy changes are:
    • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
    • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL Law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules relating to Name, Image, and Likeness.
    • Individuals can use a professional services provider (agent), for NIL activities.
    • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

What Does this Mean to Student-Athletes?


If they live in a state where NIL legislation has been passed, they can profit from their Name, Image, and Likeness. If you live in a state where there are no laws on the books defining the NIL situation, it is up to the college or university to come up with a policy for the student-athletes to follow.

There are currently, (As of July 2, 2021) several states this will affect immediately, due to the laws already passed to deal with NIL issues.

How might this impact the way Student/Athletes are chosen and sponsored?

In the past, only the very top 1% of 1% of all athletes may have garnered attention coming out of high school. With the rules change, more student athletes in all divisions, will be seeking more regional sponsorships. Arrangements which not only make the amateur-athletes regionally and locally famous, but that will also boost the reputation of colleges these players attend, which will excite and grow their fan base.

Professional teams need stars to create buzz and excitement by signing well known and popular athletes, to put fans in the stands. They need star players to drive sales of the revenue generating items like jerseys, hats and everything that goes with it.  

I suggest professional teams will begin to consider what intangible benefits a popular athlete can bring to their program, attributes beyond those of simply their physical abilities. It might be enough to tip the balance in favor of one player vs an equally qualified other player at the same position. That difference may be the reason one athlete will get a chance at the pros, while an equally talented athlete may not get that opportunity.

What Opportunities does the NIL change bring to the different Media Channels?

  • Broadcast TV: It is great for mass visibility, but traditionally has been and most likely will continue to be the realm of only the very top athletes in amateur and professional sports because of the costs.
  • Cable: Cable may see some additional spends for product sponsorships in regional telecasts of regional sports. Again, for most athletes outside those at the very top, most companies will not likely invest heavily in the player sponsored ads due to the cost.
  • Radio: Radio is another great mass media medium and can be affordable but has the drawback of no visual image. This limits its value to the sponsoring company to the simple audio connection to the athletes in Name only while forgoing the value of their Image and Likeness. It’s not really maximizing the three elements of NIL.
  • OTT & Streaming: Much like cable, these mediums will likely be utilized to promote the NIL elements and adopted early. Advertisers will be able to measure ROI for these types of investments, very quickly. Additionally, with the increase in the number of regionally streamed sporting events, that might be the key to spur growth for the medium thanks to the NIL changes.
  • Direct Digital Displays: Direct On-Line and Mobile ads may see a boost from the rule change, but the challenge of the One-to-One delivery methodology of the ads, might not be the most cost-effective vehicle to deliver the broad reach many players will desire. On the other hand, 97% of adults own a cellphone and that number pushes to almost 99% for millennials with smart phones. The targeting capabilities might work to drive growth in social media followers, which if used judiciously, might even be more important for developing a player’s brand and social media presence.   
  • Social Media & Influencer Marketing: Both mediums should be getting a bump from the new NIL policies and laws. Especially since companies like AthleticdirectorU have started to try and figure out valuations for athletic sponsorships. In one example they relate the CPM to the number of Instagram followers an amateur athlete has. By analyzing what the world’s top 100 professional athletes make from endorsements, consisting of multiple brands, they came up with an average of .80 cents per Instagram follower. If applied in the same way to college athletes, this could be a basis for determining how much college athletes are compensated and at what rate. Both mediums deliver on the Name, Image, and Likeness aspects and additional support of Influencers this should benefit the sponsors and the sponsored by leveraging all three elements for the mutual benefit of both.
  • OOH: Out of Home has some unique advantages that suit it for garnering media investment from the NIL changes. It is a great vehicle to deliver on the Name, Image, and Likeness elements. It can be regional and local (like most of the A- to B+ level athletic stars and the colleges they attend). It can reach a broad range of potential clients in an area, combining advertiser’s messages or branding along with delivering a visual image of the athlete, their name and potentially their likeness in uniform (where not restricted by the college). From a CPM basis, this medium delivers. Broad reach, frequency, and the ability not to be skipped should deliver better results than many other advertising mediums and at an overall lower cost. Since the athlete is getting their name and image out in front of not just the local fans, but in front of others outside the typical targeted demo it creates value for the athletes as well as the advertiser by casting a wider net. The players are recognized and known to a wider audience, which in turn can help grow their social media following. That following may someday contribute to getting signed when the pro’s come calling.  Additionally, because of the lower entry cost to sponsor players with an OOH campaign this can bring in more local advertisers that typically never dreamed they would be able to afford a sponsorship arrangement.

The Wrap

The jury is still out whether this will help amateur sports or hurt it. It seems likely to be a benefit to many student athletes as they play the sports they love and will further compensate them for their time and effort, while also reducing the stranglehold held for so long by a handful of controlling institutions.

One undeniable fact is advertisers should get out ahead of this sea of change on how sponsorships are handled and proactively sign a larger number of more regional “star athletes” to sponsorship agreements. If they do, many advertising mediums should see a boost for their business. The opportunity is there, and every local sports hero with talent, drive, and dreams of playing professional sports will likely be eager to see their Name, Image, and Likeness on the big screens (billboards) or the little screens (their friend’s phones).