The start of a new year is always exciting, made even more so because I have the privilege of working with an extremely talented and passionate team at Abbey Mecca. We are saying goodbye to a pretty good year filled with great clients and great work. I am extremely grateful to our clients who trust their brand to us, and to our vendors that extend our capabilities in so many ways, and who share our passion to build great brands. While we are looking forward to the challenges of 2024, it is important to take a moment and reflect on a few highlights from last year.
Catholic Charities Celebrates A Century of HOPE
2023 marked the 100th Anniversary of Catholic Charities of Buffalo. We were honored to collaborate with Catholic Charities to tell the story of their “century of service.” Working with Catholic Charities, we created a film that told the incredible story of Catholic Charities of Buffalo from humble beginnings in 1923 through present day. Rose Caldwell, Chief Communications Officer for Catholic Charities challenged our team to create a compelling documentary that told this story within the context of the history of Buffalo and Western New York. The result was a 30-minute documentary entitled A Century of HOPE that premiered in October 2023 as part of a centennial celebration. You can view the full documentary here and a special Behind the Scenes video here.
TWO WARS: The Road to Integration Receives Awards for Excellence
Since the earliest days of our Republic, African Americans have been part of the nation’s fighting force. African American service members in the United States Military fought to defend the very freedoms they could not enjoy as citizens. TWO WARS: The Road to Integration is a 30-minute film that tackles the topic of segregation and eventual integration of the United States Military.
The film, a collaboration between Abbey Mecca and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, premiered in January of 2023 and has received numerous awards for excellence this past year including:
- 2023 Silver Addy Award for Sound Design
- 2023 Telly Awards for Editing, Documentary, and History
- 2023 Gold Davey Award for Documentary Production
Congratulations to the video team at Abbey Mecca led by Sean Donovan and the team at the Buffalo Naval Park led by Stephen Tedesco. You can read more about the production of TWO WARS here and you can watch this award-winning and moving film here.
VELTRIS Brand Development
Our brand strategy and creative teams tackled an exciting brand development project for a new business. The assignment was a “ground-up” project, meaning our work included everything from brand strategy, name, logo and visual identity, and corporate identity, to website design. This unique assignment took us into some new territory due of the nature of the business and proved the Abbey Mecca Ignite Branding Model has application in just about every industry. Congratulations to Art Director Paul Maurer for lead the design effort. You can read more about this project and see the results of the work here.
What’s Exciting for 2024?
In addition to working on new projects with our current clients and welcoming new clients, there are a few industry topics that should keep 2024 very interesting.
First Party Data
As third-party cookies begin to phase out, first party stakeholder data is more and more important for effectiveness and efficiency in digital marketing. This applies to B2B, B2C and non-profit organizations that need to engage their target audiences.
While it is uncertain when cookies will be completely out of the picture, we are encouraging clients to have a plan to capture, manage, and leverage first party data as part of their marketing efforts in 2024. Brands need to understand more about their customers and stakeholders and what motivates them. First party data provide insights for marketers and more relevant and meaningful engagement for customers and stakeholders.
From ChatGPT to Adobe Firefly, AI tools are moving swiftly beyond a novelty to a productivity tool in creative development and in media buying. Much the same way the evolution of computer design tools have elevated design and production, AI will be the engine propelling marketing into new territory.
Most marketers are using AI, to some degree, and many plan to spend more on it this year, according to Leveraging AI In Marketing: Strategies, Tactics & Trends, a study by Ascend2.
Of the companies polled, 15% are putting AI to extensive use in their marketing, and 51% are putting it to some use. Another 17% are not yet using it but plan to, and 17% have no such plans. Moreover, 48% are somewhat likely to increase their investment over the next 12 months, and 29% are very likely to do so. According to the survey findings, the main benefits to be gained from AI include:
- Increased efficiency — 57%
- Improved targeting — 46%
- Automation of repetitive tasks — 40%
- Better insights from data — 39%
- Enhanced customer experience — 32%
- Competitive advantage — 27%
Ascend2 surveyed 400 marketers in December 2023. Of these, 22% were in B2B, 45% in B2C and 33% in an equal mixture of both. Of the firms represented, 29% have more than 500 employees, 41% employ 50 to 500 and 30% fewer than 50. Thanks to Ascend2 for this great information on AI.
Presidential Campaigns and Olympic Year Should Add to Higher Ad Spending
With a Presidential election and the Summer Olympics, 2024 should be an interesting year in media – both traditional and digital. It is difficult to predict exactly how much pressure these two forces will place on national and local media inventory at this point, but typically, it is quite disruptive for regular advertisers.
According to Forbes, ad spending growth is widely forecast to accelerate in 2024. The market looks to be cheering on a return to higher growth in 2024, along with new synergies from generative AI advertising offerings from Big Tech and pockets of stronger growth in digital and retail media ad spend.
Google has seen Search revenue growth accelerate in each quarter this year, from just below 2% in Q1 to 11.3% in Q3 – the highest growth in five quarters driven by retail vertical growth. What Google is showing in Q3, and likely in a similarly strong Q4, is that AI-powered ad solutions are helping drive resilient Search ad revenue growth. Google is rolling out AI-driven features and is now reorganizing its digital ad business to place more emphasis on generative AI and AI automated ads.
With 91.8% of internet users between ages 16 to 64 watching content via streaming services, it’s easy to see why advertisers are favoring CTV and YouTube over linear TV. CTV ad spend has risen 400% since 2019, as use of streaming services surged through 2020 and 2021, while linear TV spend has been declining. CTV ad spend is forecast to be the fastest growing channel next year.
2024 is widely expected to see an acceleration in ad spending, with major sporting events and political spend aiding the growth forecast. Retail media is expected to see 23% growth in the United States as it begins to shift to other mediums. CTV’s rapid growth outlook of 30% to 40% is boosted by major streaming media companies introducing ad-supported tiers. CTV ads are currently expected to be the strongest growing segment. You can read the complete Forbes article here
All the best for a prosperous and healthy 2024!
President | Managing Creative Director