Reading Time: 2 minutes

As a graphic designer if you don’t keep up with the latest trends your designs might fall by the wayside like Microsoft Paint. New trends come out every year. The goal is to find new ways to grab and hold people’s attention. For 2022, there are plenty of new ideas out there to improve and expand upon current techniques. Here are just a few of those ideas to consider.          

Fonts with a Twist

Typography can be used in many ways to make interesting designs. Twisting letters has proven to be the most popular of 2022. Graphic Designers like it because it conveys an interesting sense of style and message because of its imperfectness. The twisted letters can be anything upside down, big, or small. It can help bring any attention to any sort of design or reveal a certain message.

Candy Colors

As we enter this digital age with various kinds of content across all platforms, it is harder for designers to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Colors are important to help us stand out on the page and get more attention to our work and be seen. The best way for your design to stand out is to use candy-colored themes. Think of the colors of your favorite sweet treats. Graphic Designers who know color theory can apply this to their designs.

3D Characters

3D characters have risen to popularity with Graphic Designers. Graphic Design apps have been updated to include 3D features (other than text) allowing designers to raise their designs to the next level. 3D characters are fun and memorable helping build brand recognition. They also help convey emotions, thoughts, and ideas to the consumers.

90’s Nostalgia

For those who remember the 90’s, nostalgia is a popular trend with designers. Utilizing these designs techniques will bring back childhood memories of the good times. Think of shows like The Prince of Bel-Air, Seinfeld, and Friends. To incorporate this trend, designers will look at games and ads from this period also. The internet was new and exciting. Using this trend will bring fun to the design.

Anti-Design

Another way to make a design stand out is to not follow typical rules of Graphic Design. Most Graphic Designers follow certain rules to create flowing, memorable, easy to read designs. If you want to break the rules to make something stand out, you can go against the grain. Use bold Typography, clashing colors, asymmetry, and cluttered compositions. Even if it’s against the rules sometimes it could just work out and catch the viewers’ attention.

As a Graphic Designer there are a lot of exciting and intriguing ways to incorporate ideas into designs. It’s important to keep up with design trends and influences. You can break the rules and create new concepts that do not follow the norm. You can bring back a classic era into the world. You can twist your fonts to create playful and exotic messages, or you can bring designs to life in 3D to help express emotions and bring a brand identity. All these ideas are popular for 2022 and will help your designs be a success.

Written by:
Shavonne Stellato
Development & Graphics Team Member

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When you think of awards, the Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes probably come to mind, but you probably might not think about advertising agency awards. But for a business like ours, we have been asked to submit and participate, to be in the running for these industry awards, time and time again. Let’s examine what these awards are and if they really mean anything to clients.

We’ll start off with the fact that “awards” in our industry, as with most, are big business. Awards are given out by media marketing platforms like The Drum and Digiday, as well as through industry associations like, The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals with their ‘MarComm Awards’ and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences with their ‘Webby Awards’ just to name a few.

There are awards for:

  • Digital Media
  • Print Media
  • Creative Design
  • Strategic Communications
  • Content Marketing
  • Audio / Video
  • Industry Leaders
  • Technology
  • Strategy
  • Distribution
  • Editorial
  • And more!

For a media planning and buying agency, like ours there are awards for:

  • Best Media Plan
  • Best Use of Emergent Media
  • Most Diverse Spending
  • Best Brand Integration into Gaming/Sports
  • Best Brand Integration into Traditional Media
  • And more!

With more than eight thousand businesses in the advertising industry (Statista 2019), it’s easy to see why this became big business and how there would be so many opportunities to “win”. But how do any of these companies get nominated. Who gets to choose where the entries come from? In many cases, it’s the businesses themselves vying for a chance to get recognized by the companies promoting the awards. And many of these opportunities come at a very high cost.

According to an interview with an ‘agency CEO’ done by Forbes, the CEO had to “defend his decision to spend $250,000 on entry fees”, because “winning awards is how he benchmarks his agency.” That doesn’t seem right. In that same article, the writer noted that the actual “usefulness as any type of industry benchmarking regarding who is doing outstanding work is predicated on the quality and robustness of the judging process.” So, the question is, who are they to judge? Could the winners based on the amount of investment spent to win awards and agencies willing to spend it? That may be why the larger, popular, and wealthier agencies are the ones “highlighting” all their winning awards.

It isn’t that winning an award for something should be overlooked. Our agency won an award for our Out of Home Strategy for “Best Alcohol Advertising and Promotions”. Yes, believe it or not, there are awards that get that specific.

And of course, as a media agency, we were very proud to win, but we didn’t nominate ourselves and we don’t hang our hat on those kinds of things. It means more to us when our own clients tell us they appreciate what we do for them. Getting them the best media placements and unique opportunities, while saving them money. No award necessary.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

One beautiful morning in the glory of the fluorescent light inside your office you are leafing through a stack of old brochures and marketing pieces containing information explaining the services your company has to offer. As you are starring at them, you abruptly come to the realization that the material is not only outdated but if you are being honest with yourself, the design looks like it came straight out of an 80’s commercial.

After a long search, you find a graphic designer that is going to transform your brochure into a modern, updated piece of art you will be proud to show prospective clients. For obvious reasons, you want to get this right the first time. But how can you assist the graphic designer in giving you the best possible solution for your company?

Communication is Key

In any working relationship, communication is the number one key factor. When describing to the designer what you are looking for, you want to be as detailed as possible. Do you want something modern and sleek? Casual and whimsical? Serious and simple? The more specific you are about what you are looking for, the easier it is going to be for the designer.

An expected timeline for the project is a component that is necessary to discuss. A mistake that is often made is the “let’s play it by ear.” This causes unforeseen conflicts. Communicate with the graphic designer and let them know all your expectations for each step in the process. Chances are you are going to have numerous meetings before the project is finished. If you would like to see a general layout of what they were thinking before the next meeting, tell them that. This keeps the project on task and moving at a pace you are both comfortable with.

When the designer brings you a rough first draft, give positive constructive criticism. Try to avoid suggestive language such as, “It just doesn’t feel right.” What doesn’t feel right? You are the client, and they are here to serve you. If you like the layout but the colors aren’t working for you, don’t just tell them you dislike the colors. Discuss with them either what colors you are considering or inquire what other color scheme they might recommend. Leaving the designer presuming what you want ends up wasting their time and yours.

Provide the Designer with All the Files They Need

The one thing a graphic designer does not want to hear before starting a project is, “Just pull all the things you need from our Facebook page.” While pulling pictures from a Facebook page is an easy task, it is something graphic designers avoid at all costs. Nine times out of ten, the pictures pulled from a Facebook page do not have high enough resolution to use in a professional capacity. When it comes to a logo, you want a high-resolution file with a transparent background for optimal results. You simply cannot achieve this by pulling a photo from Facebook. Not only are you risking the quality of the logo, pulling from Facebook automatically gives the logo a white background.

“Okay if you can’t pull from Facebook, why don’t you just pull pictures from our website?” Again, while this can be done, that does not mean it should be done. Pictures on websites are formatted to fit a specific spot in the design. Frequently, they are cropped and resized to fit different screen sizes. When you pull a photo from a website, it will remain the same dimensions that were specified for the design of the website. Just like Facebook, chances are the pictures will not be high enough resolution or in the correct file format to use in a professional design.

Besides pictures, providing the designer with copy for the design is essential. Graphic designers are not writers and don’t know your business well enough to produce copy themselves. Do not send over a .jpeg or a .png file for copy. Graphic designers are unable to copy and paste text from a .jpeg or .png file. This would force the designer to have to re-type all the text provided which can cause typos or spelling mistakes. Send over a word document or a pdf with all the copy they need to get started.

Pay Attention to the File Format

  • JPEG – Logos or anything that needs to have a transparent background are not to be sent in a .jpeg or file format. High resolution pictures in a .jpeg format is acceptable.
  • PNG – Logos, icons, or any other graphics with a transparent background should be sent over as a high resolution .png file.
  • PDF – While .pdf files are not the preferred method of receiving files, it is possible to pull pictures and logos from .pdf files. Typically, if no other file format is available, a .pdf can be acceptable.
  • Illustrator (.ai), Photoshop (.psd), or InDesign (.indd) or .eps file.

When dealing with logos, icons, or other graphics, all these file types are the preferred file type to a graphic designer. From any of these, we can easily manipulate and save the graphics into whatever file format we need.

When in doubt, ask questions. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. From personal experience, I have always preferred answering questions than back and forth with a client trying to get them to send over exactly what I need.

Written by:
Ali Menard
Development & Graphics Team Member

Reading Time: 2 minutes

PR ANNOUNCEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 30, 2022

TROOPER, PA: A3 Media announces Social Shelf® trial in New Jersey’s, Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits.

On March 15, 2022, A3 Media began their second Social Shelf® trial in New Jersey’s Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits chain, with nearly 400 products.

The new advertising solution, Social Shelf®, is specifically built to help educate consumers about small and mid-size brands, enabling them to make smarter buying decisions while shopping in the aisles.

Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits has nine locations and is the first alcohol superstore to use Social Shelf. “Bourbon Street Wine and Spirits is excited to partner with Social Shelf in all nine locations to provide our customers with product information that can help them to make an informed purchasing decision.” said Chris Beardsley, General Manager “It’s a great tool for customers to get information, recipes and even food suggestions about the many wines, beer, and spirits that we stock on our store shelves.”

In addition to Bourbon Street, A3 Media has been successfully testing the Social Shelf service in grocery retailer Giant Food Stores. “We are pleased to see this newest trial period with Bourbon Street off to a fantastic start with more than 4,000 scans in less than two weeks and excited that Giant Food Stores has extended their original 90-day trial period with Social Shelf ®.” said Frank Gussoni, President and CEO of A3 Media. “Our goal is to monitor both trials to compare consumer usage and how it varies between grocery and liquor specific retailers.”

Philadelphia based A3 Media, is known for their strategic media planning, negotiating, and buying services for mid-market and regional businesses. They provide multi-market companies the strength of national media buys with the control of local market pricing through their use of the registered trademarked Micro Market Media® methodologies. A3 Media developed, Social Shelf® to allow smaller and mid-size brands the opportunity to market to consumers at point of purchase.

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

U.S. Ad Spending: According to Magna Global, the U.S. ad market will rebound in 2021 with ad dollars growing year-over-year by an estimated 25%, totaling $284.3 billion.

What is Data-Driven Advertising?

Data-driven advertising helps brands understand the customer journey and provides insights that allow for a “personalized” experience. It helps brands reach the right audience on the channels they use.

Data-driven advertising isn’t new, but it is increasingly the deciding factor in advertising planning as well as the measurement of a successful campaign.

Does data provide valuable insight into a potential consumer? Sure.

Does data allow an advertiser to follow the consumer across multiple touchpoints, across multiple devices, bordering on creepy? It does.

Does data driven advertising have a place in the strategy of your media campaign? It absolutely does. Should it be the only factor in your media strategy and determining a campaigns success? Not a chance.

One facet of the work we do at A3 Media is constantly vetting new companies. Is every company we vet a perfect fit for our client’s needs? No! However, we have found and established invaluable relationships and implemented many new and unique tools through the process. This process helps enable us to be more versatile and better informed, which, in turn, allows us to provide better service to clients.

Enter Converged TV – the blending of linear, connected and addressable TV.

Converged TV measurement is a blended measurement of the effectiveness of linear and digital TV.

Linear TV

Linear TV has been measured historically by rating points, the percentage of viewers of the total possible audience. More recently there has been a shift to view linear TV by impressions (putting it on a more equal scale to digital properties). Linear TV, ratings or impressions, at best represent an estimate of the audience.  If this isn’t murky enough add to the equation, the leading source of TV ratings is also establishing the statistics for TV households as well as the potential audience size.

Reviewing the intricacies of linear TV measurement could lead to an ongoing series, the topic at hand is converged TV measurement. To make a long story short, an analysis of predictive modeling based on estimated ratings, or impressions, for linear TV should be viewed as marginally accurate. If this isn’t convoluted enough, add the manual steps and time delay necessary to secure the final modeling. These additional steps can require enormous man-hours and can take anywhere from several days to several weeks to complete.

Does this “data” allow for optimization of your linear TV schedule with all these obstacles? Next, add the associated costs for this service – six figures a year.

Connected and Addressable TV

Connected and addressable delivery and engagement truly is much more measurable using household and device data, delivery and conversion measurement capabilities. This, almost, real-time analysis does lend itself to campaign optimization. The fees for this type of data are typically calculated as a percentage of the media cost.

The final blended summation is still at the heart of the issue.

  • Is it data? Yes.
  • Does it contain a substantial amount of inference? Absolutely!
  • Is this the type of data you want to hang your hat on to dictate your media plans? Uhm…..no.
  • Is this a sound foundation to determine the course and success of your media campaign? Not completely.

There may never be an end to the search for more and better data but until something better comes along, this is it. So, in the rush for data always ask for a clear explanation of the source, calculations and accuracy of the information presented – all data is not created equal!

Reading Time: < 1 minute

A3 Media’s new advertising technology, Social Shelf, is specifically built to help educate consumers about small and mid-size brands, enabling them to make smarter buying decisions while shopping in the aisles.

We are excited to announce our second trial began on March 15, 2022, in New Jersey’s Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits chain, with nearly 400 products.

Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits has nine locations and is the first alcohol superstore to use Social Shelf. Using Social Shelf will expand their consumer’s education of products, which Bourbon Street prides themselves on.

With their vast selection of beer, wine and spirits, shoppers are able to learn more with a simple scan of a QR code. A3 Media will be advertising the service and monitoring its usage at all nine locations.

In addition to Bourbon Street, A3 Media is testing the service in grocery retailer Giant Food Stores. Giant recently extended their trial.

A3 will monitor both trials to compare how consumer usage varies between grocery and liquor specific retailers.

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Did you ever wonder, if Times New Roman is the standard font that everyone uses, what on earth are all these other fonts for? Imagine what a bland world it would be with just one standard font. Take the Netflix logo for example. If it was just in Times New Roman typeface in black, it wouldn’t be memorable, would it? That’s where Typography comes in! Typography is important in everyday life. Without it we wouldn’t be able to communicate messages effectively!

So, what is Typography? “Typography is the strategic arrangement of type in order to make written language readable and visually appealing.” Some may think typeface and font are the same thing but they’re not. Typeface consists of a family of fonts that express different styles for that typeface. Some styles are bold, italic, regular, etc. Using features like Contrast, Hierarchy, Color, Alignment, and Consistency, we see elements of typeface design. With Contrast, a designer will change or work with various typeface styles and color to make the design stand out.

With Hierarchy, Graphic Designers arrange typefaces and use font sizes to create dynamic designs that grab the viewer’s attention. Color helps establish the tone of the message and helps it pop. Alignment helps make sure there is the same amount of space between fonts and images to create a neat design. Consistency between your typefaces ensures a clean and messy-free design and helps create a visual pattern for viewers.

In Typography we use typefaces to convey different ideas, feelings and emotions. For example, the Serif family of typefaces conveys respectability and reliability, the Sans Serif family conveys stability and clarity, the Script family conveys elegance and creativity, the Modern family conveys strength, and the Display family conveys friendliness and expressiveness. Picking your typeface is an important part of the design in creating your message.

Typography is important for Media and Marketing whose primary function is to communicate, advertise and sell to consumers. It helps to build brand recognition, show personality, deliver an effective message, and make an impact. Helping to build brand recognition is a vital component of Typography. Using the appropriate typeface helps to convey a mood or tone for that brand that is memorable and conveys what the brand is about. As a consumer you are attracted to a brand without realizing what got your attention. Consistent use of a typeface in logo design helps to reinforce brand identity. “The Coca-Cola typeface script for example is instantly recognizable because they have been so consistent in applying it for so many years.” If you consider the Disney logo, it’s memorable because it’s playful and friendly. They want to appeal to young children and adults alike. That’s the power of Typography!  

There is more to typography than just choosing a font. Typography teaches us how to arrange type in order to make written language readable and appealing. With all the tools available to us today, we have the ability to create messages that create an emotional connection to the consumer to make the consumer interested. Typography is essential to Media and Marketing because it helps build a brand. Without Typography building brand recognition with a clear, concise message would be very challenging.

Written by:
Shavonne Stellato
Development & Graphics Team Member

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Woman holding Apple iPhone 11 pro

A few weeks ago, January 9th to be exact, marked 15 years since Steve Jobs first introduced the original iPhone to the world. It was first billed as three products in one: an iPod with a touch screen, a cell phone, and an internet device to connect to the web. Since then, it has become so much more. It’s an extension of our everyday lives. The iPhone not only changed how we communicate with each other but changed the face of media and advertising all together.

For reference, I was born in 1981 and grew up in an exciting time before the internet and before smartphones. Actually, I didn’t get a phone until I was out of high school, I was maybe 19 or 20 years old. So, I do have some perspective of pre and post internet/smartphone worlds. Having said that, let’s take a quick look at the landscape back when the iPhone was introduced. It was 2007 and the following companies didn’t exist: Instagram, Uber, TikTok, Twitch, Snap, Lyft, DoorDash, Tinder, Postmates, Venmo and Pinterest. Wow, some big changes in just 15 years.

When I think about the impact iPhone has had on media and advertising, I break that down into three categories. Let’s take a look:

  1. Digital and Mobile Advertising – Back in 2007, mobile advertising spending had an annual total of roughly $1.7 billion. Today mobile ad spending is north of 140 billion annually. Although mobile advertising is just one spoke in the digital advertising wheel, it now makes up about half of all the digital ad spend. That makes sense when you think about the recent growth in ad revenue for social platforms like Facebook & Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Google. The introduction of iPhone and smartphones have kept users connected to the web 24/7, 365. At the same token, allowing them to be targeted by digital and mobile advertisers whenever and wherever they go.
  2. Communication and Entertainment – Today we use our phones to stay in touch and get our news in real time. This has significantly changed the way our country reacts to everything from politics to the latest trends on social media. It has also changed the way we are targeted and advertised to. With native advertising, we get a seamless experience of receiving advertisements while we are consuming our favorite content and they blend right in, trying to make it the least intrusive experience as possible. More and more people are watching TV and using streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix when it comes to getting entertainment. Large cable companies are noticing consumers cutting the cord, especially the younger generations like Gen Z. They simply consume content and have different beliefs than generations before them. This lends a challenge to marketers and advertising professionals; how do they reach this new type of consumer in the future. Using smartphones and advertising via social and digital platforms will certainly be key but gaining knowledge about the consumer will be essential. That brings us to our next category, data!
  3. Consumer Data – I purposely saved this point for last because let’s face it, when it comes to the future of digital and mobile advertising, data is king. Data about consumers, their values, location, and behaviors will be what advertisers base the next few years of strategy, planning, and budgets on. Over the past 15 years we have carried around several versions of the iPhone or the smartphone of our choice. All the while giving companies and large social platforms all the data in the world about us. What we consume, what we purchase, where we shop, who we communicate with, our race, age, gender, income, search history, and you get the idea. Whether we like it or not, this little iPhone has been a tracking device for all of our most important, personal information. As much as I think there will be changes in the future, I believe consumer privacy concerns will be a constant. We have already noticed the “opt-in” messages on apps and social media platforms. This may have an impact on advertising but like everything else we will learn and adapt

In the next few years, I expect digital and mobile ad spending to continue to increase and the push for innovation and new tech will be the focus. One thing the Apple iPhone did over the past 15 years was create competition and it really took the mobile and tech industry to a new level.

Having an iPhone or a smartphone in our pocket means we have access to everything right at our fingertips. We connect, we search, we communicate, and we solve. I look at iPhone as the ultimate solution. Sky is the limit when it comes to advertising opportunities and smartphone capabilities over the next 15 years!

Written by:
Bob Freas
Social Media Specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes
confused businessman facing wall

US Programmatic display advertising spends continue to grow, but do you really know what you’re getting for your advertising dollars?

A3 Media has a traffic and accounting department intensely focused on verifying every media buy placed for our clients are delivered in full. But we are never content, constantly researching options and potential pitfalls. If your media buying agency isn’t constantly looking for better and more efficient options, should they be your media buyer?

We recently completed an audit of a client’s programmatic campaign and found the pacing to be flawless. A series of 30-day campaigns delivered a consistent daily average of impressions that were evenly distributed throughout day.

The urge was to dig a little deeper, so we set out to test restricted hourly delivery over a short test period and found the results to be anything but unacceptable. Without letting our national DSP know, we set up a seven-day test to monitor pacing. This test was agency funded; no client advertising dollars were used.

We started with a very small test budget, an extremely focused geographic footprint, and some dayparting. Sounds reasonably simple right? WRONG!

Our test delivery was to be restricted to a six-hour window. Almost immediately we uncovered flawed dayparting algorithms. With solid results from previous campaign audits, we anticipated an average hourly delivery of approximately 17% of the total daily impressions. After allowing the campaign to run for two full 24-hour cycles we found 100% of the daily delivery in the first hour of the six-hour window. Hmm? Unless there is a specific reason to do so, reaching your entire target audience in one hour is in no one’s best interest!

When questioned, after the usual volley of emails, phone calls, and explanations that just didn’t add up the matter was turned over to the DSP’s CTO for further investigation. The explanation was not acceptable.

We were informed our test scenario uncovered a flaw the DSP was unaware of. They claimed no other agency had previously used or tested dayparted delivery. Really? Huh? While we found that hard to believe, maybe the answer was no other agency was checking hourly pacing and only checking total impressions.

However, within 72 hours the DSP recoded their delivery metrics to accommodate evenly paced hourly daypart targeting. We tested it again and it was working properly. The question is, did they know all along and just wanted to make sure they could clear the money everyday or are other agencies just accepting results and not challenging their vendors?

In either event, the answer isn’t good.

This year, 2022 is projected to see more than $96.5 billion in programmatic display advertising. For DSPs and most agencies this is a win, they’ll get paid as soon as your ad is delivered.

But shouldn’t you know your advertising agency truly has your back and are working as hard as you are for your business?

One would think so…or hope so!