Strap on your horn-rimmed glasses: We’re looking back at two important firsts that occurred in 1994. In digital marketing, the first banner ad appeared online, featuring little more than a tease to click—which an astonishing 44% of viewers did. And in popular music, Weezer’s self-titled first album (commonly known as the Blue Album), was released to critical and audience acclaim, launching a nearly 30-year career with more than 35 million albums sold worldwide.

Maybe you’re thinking the Weezer tidbit has nothing to do with digital advertising. I mean, the “Buddy Holly” guys? Say it ain’t so! They’re just a nerdy rock band whose hits are now on oldies radio.

But if you listen carefully to their lyrics, it’s like Weezer has been trying to tell us something. No, not that we should destroy our sweaters, and not that we should eat candy with our pork and beans. Embedded in their lyrics are hints to developing an effective media strategy—specifically, the importance of knowing our audiences, getting clear on our objectives, and providing a journey that meets consumers across the many screens, channels, and platforms where they spend time. If you listen carefully, these considerations might just put you in a perfect situation for success.

1. Know your audience.

Where I come from isn't all that great / My automobile is a piece of crap
My fashion sense is a little wack / And my friends are just as screwy as me
I didn't go to boarding schools / Preppy girls never looked at me
Why should they? I ain't nobody / Got nothing in my pocket
Beverly Hills, that's where I want to be

Advertisers must understand the characteristics of their target audience as well as Weezer understands the characteristics of Beverly Hills residents. Market and consumer research is mission-critical: The more you know about your ideal prospects, the better you can segment your audiences and the better you can target them, resulting in greater efficiency of reach and ad spend. Plus, you can create a more tailored and personalized ad experience for that audience.

Knowing what kind of car they drive, what clothes they wear, their education level, and their goals and motivations—these details can help with behavioral targeting, contextual relevance, or even geotargeting (perhaps on an island in the sun where they’ll be playing and having fun).

2. Know what you want your audience to do.

Girl, if you’re wondering if I want you to, I want you to
So make a move, ‘cause I ain’t got all night

What do you want from your audience?  Do you simply want them to see your ads (and, perhaps, recall your brand at a later stage of their journey)? Do you want them to click your ad to navigate to an e-commerce page or website? Do you want them to buy your product, download your app, opt in for your newsletter, or transact in some other way? Whether it’s awareness, consideration, or conversion, measured by CPM, CPC, or CPA, knowing your campaign objective and its associated KPI will guide your tactical choices.

As for creative, make sure your call to action entices the desired activity. Don’t leave them wondering if you want them to (as in, to watch, listen, click, download, submit, etc.) …because you ain’t got all night.

3. Provide cross-channel experiences.

Young girl, lying flat in her bed / Streaming images to her head
Homework or memes? Slime or BlackPink? Eight hours gone, now her mind’s blown
Everyone stares at their screens

Is your target audience staring at memes on Instagram? Watching challenges on TikTok? Catching up with family on Facebook? Streaming “Workin’ Moms” on Netflix through their connected TV? Or, more likely, doing all of those things throughout a given day?

With consumers participating in so many different platforms, screens, and channels, it’s important for advertisers to curate cross-channel experiences. Omnichannel advertising platforms are designed to manage media complexity and enable cross-channel messaging, so marketers can easily reach consumers in all the places where they spend time (and with highly targeted placements, to boot!).

Even better, platforms that leverage the latest AI technologies allow teams to optimize campaigns in real time, ensuring that ads are running on the right channels and screens at the right moments.

Ready to be a digital advertising hero?

Holy cow! Who would have thought a quirky rock ‘n’ roll band like Weezer would (unknowingly) hide so many digital advertising best practices in their lyrics? Turns out that buyers and planners who know their objectives and their target audiences, and who can automate their omnichannel approach, could be living the good life—maybe on that aforementioned island in the sun.

Don’t want to keep fishin’ for digital advertising insights? Sign up for Basis Scout—we’ll deliver them straight to your inbox!

Professional wrestling is, at its core, a morality play. Good versus evil. Championship stakes with over-the-top theatrics. Predetermined performance art, yes, but it still involves two or more athletes running, jumping, and falling; being shoved, slammed, and shouted at; 20 minutes a night, 200 to 300 nights per year, all around the world, for as long as their bodies can stand it.

The wrestling profession isn’t meant for just anyone—your local schoolteacher, plumber, or dentist, say. 

...Or is it?

There was a stretch in the mid-1990s when the World Wrestling Federation (now known as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE) introduced a number of wrestlers whose characters were defined by their day jobs: a garbage man, a circus clown, and even a federal tax agent (who wrestled in a dress shirt, dress pants, suspenders, and a red tie…as one does). 

Today, marketers in these real-life industries use digital advertising, not dropkicks, to improve their bottom lines and meet their business objectives. Kind of makes you wonder: If these wrestlers were around today, would this era of digital advertising help them to attract and earn enough business to stay out of the ring? Would online sales, critical app downloads, or lucrative appointments have deterred them from moonlighting as masked marauders?

We think there’s a case to be made here! Read on to learn about four former professional wrestlers whose “day jobs” would have benefited from today’s digital advertising ecosystem:

Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.

Accompanied to the ring by the din of dental drills over ominous orchestra music, and billed as living in “Decay-tur, Illinois,” Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. (get it? “I. Yankem”?) joined the ranks of WWE in July 1995 and was gone by September 1996, without leaving much of a cavity in the company’s roster. Never a champion, he debuted as the personal dentist of veteran heel Jerry “The King” Lawler. Well, a crown for a king and a crown for a tooth, we suppose.

The premise for the evil extractor was that “no one likes to go to the dentist,” but we know that’s not always true. Dentists are not only critical to our oral health, but they and their hygienists are often quite lovely people! Let’s get to the root of the problem: In this hyperlocal industry, dentists want to create awareness among nearby residents, promote their services, and generate phone calls or form fills leading to new appointments. In today’s world, Dr. Yankem could:

T.L. Hopper

With his trusty plunger “Betsy” and his “muddy” work boots, pro wrestling’s plumber, T.L. Hopper, debuted in July 1996 (let us take a load off your mind: The T.L. stands for “Toilet Lid”). He was wiped from the roster by June 1997, with long stretches finding him without a single televised match. And because nothing’s funnier to a young professional wrestling fan than potty humor, Hopper’s “theme song” was the sounds of toilets flushing. For two minutes. Wow, this idea stunk.

This corny character was portrayed as though plumbers have a crappy job, but many plumbing, electrical, and heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) businesses are wildly successful. After all, nearly every home or apartment needs regular maintenance on any of those components. This industry thrives by booking a steady stream of appointments, plus creating awareness for seasonal promotions and parts or labor discounts. Instead of letting his career tank, Mr. Hopper could have used the tools of today’s trade to:

The Goon

In hockey, the “goon” is the player who beats up or takes out the opposing team’s best member. He’s rough, he’s tough, he’s… going to wrestle professionally in boots that look like ice skates? Yes, The Goon debuted in July 1996, led to the ring by organ music over the arena’s public address system—and very little reaction from the public itself. He lost far more matches than he won during this period, and besides a couple one-off returns, The Goon was gone by March 1997.

Sports franchises large and small require lots of ticket sales—season tickets, single-game tickets, promotional night tickets—to boast success, and many have also branched off digitally to generate social media engagement, loyalty, and advocacy. One has to wonder: If The Goon had access to today’s digital advertising capabilities, might he have avoided the matchups in pro wrestling to stick with the face-offs of his beloved hockey? Thoughts for The Goon’s marketing team:

Dean Douglas

“Fingernails on a chalkboard” is more than just an idiom to describe a particularly annoying noise—it was the spine-tingling sound at the start of the theme song for Dean Douglas, an arrogant schoolteacher who stepped into the wrestling ring wearing a graduation gown, who would grade his opponents (often failing them), and who carried a paddle he called “The Board of Education.” To reinforce his snobbery, Douglas was billed as hailing from “the University of Higher Learning.” (Raise your hand if you applied there. Anyone? Anyone?)

Why would a schoolteacher feel compelled to wrestle professionally? Did Dean Douglas just need the stress relief? Perhaps the Institute of Higher Learning needed a little strategic nudge. Here are a few ideas for how the school’s marketing department could effectively connect with prospective students today:

After the Final Bell

With modern digital marketing tools, these pro wrestlers may never have had to enter the ring (you can decide for yourself whether that’s a good or bad thing). One tool that would have been a game-changer for all these performers? Digital advertising automation, a solution that streamlines key tasks within the campaign process to help marketers save time, plan campaigns efficiently, optimize for better performance, and measure their way to victory.

Want to learn more? We wrote the rulebook on advertising automation, and you can download it right here (not to ring our own bell, but it’s probably more reliable than the rulebook for wrestling!) Read all about how the complexity and fragmentation of the ad industry have created an urgent need for automation, and how a comprehensive automation system can give you the confidence to earn championship wins for your organization. We’ll be in the front row cheering you on!

Being a food and beverage brand is a bit of a blessing and a curse.

The blessing? Everyone’s gotta eat and drink, so to a certain extent, demand will never diminish. Food and beverage retail sales will reach an estimated $1.23 trillion in 2022, and that figure is expected to grow to $1.37 trillion by 2026.

The curse? Well, it just might be a four-curse meal:

  1. Supply chain issues have caused food product shortages
  2. Inflation has resulted in price hikes
  3. There are an astonishing variety of products available on the market today
  4. The taste buds of modern consumers continue to evolve

To keep your brand in the conversation, it’s more important than ever to stay up to date on all the latest food and beverage marketing trends.

Food and Beverage Advertising Trends to Watch

Hungry for more? Here are four trends to watch as you shape the advertising strategy for your food and beverage brand(s).

Consumers Cooking at Home

According to the Institute of Food Technologists, inflation is driving Gen Z and millennial consumers back to the kitchen—six in 10 people age 25-34 are cooking more dinners at home than last year—and they want their meals easy and economical, healthy, at times plant-based, and sometimes saucy and spicy (perhaps experimenting with recipes to replicate the dining-out experience). Now, each of those could be a fully baked trend in and of itself (and we’ll slice into the “healthy” aspect more shortly), but the big takeaway here is that higher-priced food and restaurant staffing shortages have made cooking at home more attractive. Online research behaviors reflect this, too: searches for “air fryers” have remained above pre-pandemic levels, and interest in “meal kits” and related phrases continues to trend.

And as we gather more often in each other’s homes, charcuterie boards are taking center stage. From how-to searches to visual inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, folks are showing more online interest in the self-serve party trays and the bites they host, to the point where global grocer Aldi has created a Charcuterie Board (yes, those were capital letters—we’re talking about a board of directors made up of seven gourmet food and wine enthusiasts) to track food and beverage grazing trends.

To appeal to the at-home chef, food marketers can benefit from showing how easy it is to cook with their ingredients (and maybe even offer some 30-minute quick-prep recipes), how cost-effective their options are, and how yummy the plated product appears on the dinner table.

Digital and E-commerce

The trend of cooking at home requires food from the grocery store, but many consumers are opting to buy their groceries from the comfort of their own homes: e-commerce will make up more than 10% of grocery sales in 2023, lifting Instacart’s reputation and Walmart’s digital revenue, and “click-and-collect” grocery sales are forecasted to rise steadily as a share of that e-commerce. And for those who want to skip cooking altogether, intermediary delivery services (think GrubHub or DoorDash) are poised to grow in the next half-decade, too.

Even Prime Day in July 2022 saw food and grocery purchases grow 12% year over year, the third highest category growth of the year for the annual online megasale.

Meal kits also fit into this category, and although the post-pandemic near-term saw users drop their subscriptions, the market outlook sees meal kits growing from a $6.9 billion industry in 2021 to more than $10 billion in 2024, with one forward-thinking service working with dietitians to develop meal plans aimed at helping patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease manage their health.

Investing in your digital presence can help your brand(s) stand out—or, at least, keep up—in this increasingly competitive space. The flexibility and nimble nature of programmatic advertising can help you navigate today’s unpredictable market, and it can put your most valuable messages in front of your most valuable customers in their true moment of need. And as consumers spend more of their food and beverage budget via digital channels, combined with the fragmented and complex nature of the digital space, brands can also benefit from investing in digital advertising automation tools to streamline processes, keep up with the industry’s ad spend trajectory, and navigate today’s unpredictable market.

General Health and Dietary Concerns

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic got many of us to pay more attention to our health. This has a significant impact on food and beverage brands, as consumers are thinking about how to take better care of themselves via their diets.

There are myriad bite-sized trends inside the larger “health” trajectory, including:

All in all, the industry has plenty of lanes to swim in to meet consumers’ health demands!

Marketers in food and beverage can take this opportunity to toot their own horns (the buzzword here is “transparency”) in their advertising and product packaging. Maintaining presence, relevance, and helpfulness in a conscious consumer’s journey is key, and following up with advertising to close the sales loop can help put your healthiest options in their fridges and pantries.


The perception of “scarcity” is one of those trusty marketing tactics that generates sales because it plays into people’s fear of missing out—or, as we’ve come to know it, FOMO. From hybrid foods to celebrity-curated meals, limited-time offers (or LTOs) are re-energizing brands and causing curious consumers to spend before the chance slips through their fingers.

The combo of limited-time menu items and influencer marketing has been on display on fast-food menus for a while now: McDonald’s Travis Scott combo boosted declining US sales at the Golden Arches in 2020 and inspired more partnerships like Justin Bieber and Tim Hortons, Megan Thee Stallion and Popeye’s, and Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin’. These quick-service restaurants see their marketing amplified by social media word of mouth, and they benefit when customers download mobile apps that make ordering and paying faster and in-app communications possible.

Other examples of limited-time offers include merging flavors or even food items (how did it take this long to invent pretzel beer?!), experiential events, social media challenges (bet you can eat just #OneChip), and exclusive partnerships (C-store/pizza chain Casey’s partnered with Busch Light on a beer cheese pizza and Mountain Dew on an exclusive fruity flavor mix).

Even if these ambitious moves aren’t in your meal plan, food and bev brands have plenty of ways to generate excitement and/or curiosity—or even coordinate with product teams to create and introduce a limited-edition shock flavor—for a fun and buzzworthy way to showcase your brand and boost sales.

(And in a world where actual scarcity brought about by supply chain issues is very real and ongoing, maintaining advertising levels can help you stay top of mind, expand your reach, show off a bit, and maybe recruit from the talent pool created by the Great Resignation.)

Something to Chew On: The Future of Targeting

In the bigger context of supply chain issues, product shortages, and inflation, reaching your target audience where they are is more critical than ever. And as food and beverage advertisers face the deprecation of third-party cookies, the challenge of doing so is about to increase dramatically.

Check out our guide, Beyond Third-Party Cookies: Your Guide to Overcoming the Identity Crisis, to get the latest on the next generation of identity solutions in digital advertising.

Recently, Basis Technologies held its first in-person New Hire Orientation since March 2020. We’ll be providing new hires with the option of attending their orientations either virtually or in-person from now on. To celebrate the occasion (and to get an inside look at Basis NHO!) we asked one our newest Beeps—Eric Nelson—to share his experience.

(Oh yeah, and if you’re interested in joining the team, be sure to check out our Careers page!)

What I Learned at New Hire Orientation

Upon my start at Basis Technologies, I was invited to our New Hire Orientation, where 13 of the company’s newest hires descended on our Chicago headquarters to participate in a three-day journey through the purpose, people, and power of our organization.

The agenda was exciting, and the structure was clear: We’d learn the “why” behind the company on Day 1, explore the “how” on Day 2, and dig deep into the “what” on Day 3 (very Simon Sinek.) The event’s organizers—members of our amazing Talent and Development team—introduced and reinforced major points through videos, demos, guest speakers, and fun team activities. The structure provided an immersive, engaging onboarding experience that all baker’s dozen of us agreed was the best in which we’d ever taken part.

This illustrated, to me, Basis’ attention to detail, its care for its users, and its mission to do the most comprehensive work possible to achieve prime satisfaction. I left Chicago smarter and clearer about our roles and goals at Basis Technologies, armed with information and driven by inspiration.

Here are my four biggest takeaways from New Hire Orientation:

Takeaway #1: Our culture is second to none.

From the top of the company to the newest hire, we believe we do our best work when we are our best selves. Our culture is impressively people-first, and it shows in our benefits and perks, but also in the way we speak to each other—with reverence and respect, enthusiasm and empathy.

Sure, our schedules are enviably flexible. Yes, our sabbaticals and parental leave let us prioritize ourselves and our families. And wow, do we have access to multiple mental health services, including the chance to just take a day off when you need to clear your head. But this goes beyond checkmarks on a modern recruiter’s “to-do list.” Leadership offers these benefits because they want to—not because they feel like they have to. To paraphrase one famed television drama: When our minds are clear and our hearts are full, we can’t lose.

Takeaway #2: We’re constantly improving…

Digital advertising cannot have—and can never have—a “set it and forget it” mindset. We’re always looking to improve our products, our processes, and our people. That might mean ideating and prioritizing new features based on client feedback, removing redundant steps to get those features in our clients’ hands faster, or ongoing professional development for our sales, service, product, and marketing teams. Some call it “kaizen,” some call it “continuous improvement,” but for us, it just comes with the territory.

Takeaway #3: …Because we want to create Raving Fans.

In the end, we want our users to be happy. Actually, we want them to be more than happy. We want the people—the agencies, brands, media buyers, ad ops, accounting, VPs, C-suite execs—who experience our product and services to be Raving Fans of Basis. We want every interaction to be positive if not uplifting, productive if not prolific. We want marketers to realize success in their ad campaigns, to learn from our educational content, and to feel like their brands and their budgets are safe in our hands. Satisfying our customers—creating Raving Fans—is truly embedded in the fabric of our organization.

Takeaway #4: 2023 is going to be big.

We got a sneak peek at some of the capabilities our product team is working on for next year, and they’re impressive. I wish I could go into more specifics here (sadly, I have been sworn to secrecy) but we have some real game changers in the pipeline—features that will turn our already powerful omnichannel platform into a superpower. And it’s all happening in response to our clients’ needs, with the goal of making them more productive, efficient, and beyond satisfied.

To put it as Simon Sinek might: With everything we do, we believe in the success of people. We invest in our infrastructure, we provide value to our clients, we take great care of our people, and we always have an eye on the horizon. It just so happens we’re in the adtech game.

And I, for one, am ready to play.

Want to learn more about Basis Technologies’ guiding principles, workplace culture, and benefits? Check out Life at Basis Technologies.

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