Monthly Archives: August 2014

Transcending the Traditional vs. Digital Divide

There’s a growing division in the advertising world: a yawning chasm between traditional and digital approaches. Old-school marketers, direct mailers and brochures in hand, stand on one side, and tech-savvy SEO gurus, web developers, and AdWords adepts on the other.

Yes, sometimes the two sides work together, though typically in a patchwork-style campaign. Predictably, the results usually fall flat.

This schism between analog and online isn’t just wrong-headed—it entirely overlooks the enormous power unleashed when both sides work seamlessly in a cohesive strategy. Both types of media become exponentially more effective when working as one.

Moving Beyond with a Media-Agnostic Approach

Too many agencies, advertisers, and businesses side with a camp from the onset, before even considering the specifics of the campaign at hand. Would a mechanic trash half his toolbox before discovering why the car isn’t starting? Would a general dismiss half his troops before determining the mission? You get the idea.

Before restricting ourselves to certain media channels, we work closely with clients to intimately understand the goals, challenges, and needs of the campaign. Only then do we proceed with a media-agnostic approach to implementing it. We go with whatever delivery methods work best—and that usually involves a combination of tradition and digital tools.

Digital platforms are indeed where more businesses are moving, and for good reason. It’s increasingly easy for customers to learn more, take action, or make a purchase online. But that doesn’t mean traditional tools are obsolete.

Some of the most successful efforts leverage the considerable power of traditional media—a physical brochure, a captivating sign, a direct mailing—to capture attention and send customers to a digital destination—a landing page, a mobile app, an ecommerce store—where they can heed the call to action.

Great campaigns make use of all tools at their disposal, merging digital and traditional media in a sharp, channel-agnostic strategy. The dichotomy between digital and traditional media is a false one: transcend it to make your message more effective. To paraphrase Aristotle, the whole is far, far greater than the sum of the parts.

Author: Zack Smith

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From Pen to iPad

Hamlin, the main character of Orange is My Favorite Color, was born out of our department’s desire to create a publishing app. We knew we could learn the software; we just weren’t sure what to write about. Ultimately, we decided to do something simple: a children’s book. Orange is My Favorite Color is a delightful story for children of all ages. It’s funny, relatable and comes with a dose of moral teaching — “be careful what you wish for.” It won’t take anyone long to see that the inspiration came from the old King Midas tale.

One of the important considerations of the design was its simplicity. We knew we were not trying to compete with Disney and their high-polished character renderings. We wanted our illustrations to have the old-timey, throwback feel of the cartoons we all knew as kids (think of the old comic strip Peanuts, for example) but with some 21st century flair. Hamlin’s attire, tie and button-down shirt, is a playful nod to Vanguard’s corporate identity (not to mention his affinity for the color orange which also ties in to Vanguard’s brand). The execution of the illustrations was fairly basic: pen and ink drawings were scanned in and layers of color and other images were added using photoshop. Texture and collage techniques were incorporated into the illustrations on several pages. Once the artwork was established, it went into iBooks Author for layout.

Another goal of ours was implementing interactive features to give the reader a more satisfactory user experience. Not only did we push the software to its limits, we found third-party plug-ins to create the desired effects for several pages. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty good job for a first attempt at digital publishing.

Vanguard Direct: Smarter Solutions, Better Results

In Orange is My Favorite Color, Hamlin changed the world with his story. Now, we want to bring your story to life! Our team’s creative process can present your message in the same compelling, engaging and forward-looking way. Vanguard Direct stands ready to work with you, customizing the digital distribution experience to help you grow your business and achieve your goals.

Orange has now officially launched and may be downloaded for free from the iBooks store from the link shown below.

For a look under the hood and behind the curtain, we hope you’ll also enjoy the following video about the evolution of the character Hamlin and his own colorful story.

And, don’t forget to download and enjoy the free iBook at: http://bit.ly/1Bycdic

Author: Vanguard Direct Creative Services

Update on Eco-Friendly Printing

Green technology has moved beyond the customary recyclable paper and arrow-ridden logos. Some companies are taking it a step forward to increase social awareness. Printing green has gained a new definition that does not only reside in the one industry.

Photo originated from Output Magazine. See direct link below.

Pollution Absorbing Posters.

In the United Kingdom, University of Sheffield professors, Tony Ryan and Simon Armitage, crafted a poster that turned the side of a university building into a nitrogen-oxide absorbing poem. It will remain in this position for the next year.

goo.gl/wxrlG6

Photo originated from Adweek. See direct link below.

Toxin-Ridding Billboards.

Multiple companies have also created floating promotional pieces to absorb air pollution and other toxins. Shokubutsu Hana, a cosmetic brand in Japan, recently used their new ad as away to remove pollution from the Pasig River in Manila. Partnered with the Pasig River Rehabilitation commission and Vetiver Farms Phillipines, they launched an 88ft. floating vetiver grass billboard to help absorbs toxins.

goo.gl/NM2pvf

Eco-Friendly Film.

Display products that include a plastic film will also be given an eco-friendly adjustment. Earlier this year, Amari Digital Supplies premiered a static-cling film composed of recyclable polypropypylene from Statix. This can be used on indoor and short-term outdoor signage. It may also be used for promotional display items.

goo.gl/BNgsTQ

The aforementioned billboard, poster, and printable static film, are a few among many eco-friendly materials in the market today. For more information, follow the shortened links below each category.

Author: Jaclyn Saumell

Orange is My Favorite Color — The Story Behind the Story

Orange is My Favorite Color is Vanguard Direct’s first foray into digital iBook® publishing. This delightful short story introduces Hamlin, a little boy who remade the world in a new way – his way. With the assistance of a magic wishing frog, he colored the whole world orange – exactly how he wanted it! – until he came to realize that an entirely orange world has its drawbacks, too.

But the story of Hamlin actually begins long before this iBook® came to be.

Let us tell you our story about Hamlin’s story.

As an industry leader in print communication, Vanguard Direct is known for providing smarter solutions and better results, and with mobile apps and digital publishing rapidly becoming the predominant vehicles for content delivery, we were determined to get ahead of that curve as well.

Three years ago, iBooks® were expected to become the primary growth catalyst propelling Apple’s iTunes Store to $13 billion in revenues during its 2013 fiscal year. Anticipating this paradigm shift, our Director of Creative Services, Kevin Green, challenged our leading Digital Producer, Antonio Lopez, along with the entire Creative team, to author an iPad-friendly digital publication within six weeks. The goal would be twofold: to demonstrate Vanguard Direct’s rapid mastery of eye-catching dynamic graphics and interactive features available only within the digital publishing realm – and to create an entertaining narrative that would amuse children and adults alike.

Initially, the team selected Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) as the best and swiftest route to a professional-quality production draft. Then we pulled in our staff to develop a suitable project that met the agreed-upon criteria. Ultimately, we agreed that a children’s book could exploit all of the interactive features supported by DPS, and we set out to write one.

Will Lovell, Designer, had recently become a father himself. Inspired by the legend of King Midas, he had written his own take on the Golden Touch story to entertain his young daughter. For our version, Will created the young protagonist, Hamlin, who was granted a wish to change everything he touched to the color orange. (Perhaps owing to Vanguard Direct’s own attachment to that color, we were all particularly enamored of the concept.)

Once the characters were developed and the storyline was nailed down, it was time to produce. This interactive app would require the entire team to push their creative talents to the limit. Every available skill and aptitude was pressed into service, in such disciplines as content development, writing, illustration, storyboarding, layout, design, video editing, voice narration, sound editing, HTML coding, project management – all these and more were put to the test.

Orange Interrupted                      

Incredibly enough, while the app was being completed, Adobe and Apple stymied the whole endeavor when they abruptly changed their terms regarding the DPS distribution channel for non-profit projects.

To counteract, the team quickly mastered a new software tool in record time. While iBook Publisher provides a less robust authoring toolbox than DPS, it just took a little clever back-end coding by the team to work around its obstacles. As a result, the iBook version of Orange is My Favorite Color represents a substantial improvement over the original DPS draft! With its assortment of simple animations, pictures that change colors as you swipe, and embedded audio/video, the final experience is far more interactive and engaging than most typical iBook offerings. It stands out as a stellar example of how the limitations of the format can be overcome and surpassed. 

Vanguard Direct: Smarter Solutions, Better Results

In Orange is My Favorite Color, Hamlin changed the world with his story. Now, we want to bring your story to life! Our team’s creative process can present your message in the same compelling, engaging and forward-looking way. Vanguard Direct stands ready to work with you, customizing the digital distribution experience to help you grow your business and achieve your goals.

Orange has now officially launched and may be downloaded for free from the iBooks store from the link shown below.

For a look under the hood and behind the curtain, we hope you’ll also enjoy the following video about the evolution of the character Hamlin and his own colorful story:

And, don’t forget to download and enjoy the free iBook at:

http://bit.ly/1Bycdic

Author: Vanguard Direct Creative Services

Vanguard Direct Participated in the New Jersey Warrior Dash

On Saturday, August 2, more than 30 Vanguard Direct employees took it upon themselves to participate in the ultimate challenge, the New Jersey Warrior Dash. Following the course through fields, forrest, and rivers was the easy part. Along the way, runners were also confronted with a series of obstacles, including mud pits, cargo nets, barricades and army crawls. Warrior Dash is a national year-round event to help support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. To learn more about Warrior Dash, visit www.warriordash.com

Author: Zack Smith