Author Archives: Lee Lubarsky

Keeping Up with the Olympics, but Not in Real Time

Let me be honest. I’ve watched less than 30 minutes of the Olympics. And I know I’m not alone. An informal poll I took of friends and family shows that roughly half are in the same boat as me and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Nielsen reported 20.8 million viewers on the evening of Feb. 12 – a 29 percent drop from the comparable night during Vancouver 2010.

While viewership is down, however, everyone seems to be talking about the Olympics – Germany’s attire at the Opening Ceremonies; the Russian Police Choir totally nailing Daft Punk; some guy named iPod winning gold with a trick called the YOLO flip. So where’s the disconnect between interest in the games and actually watching them?

In 2012, Darren Burden, the general manager of news and digital publishing for Fairfax, posited, “News you read is different than news you say you read. The former is driven by what you want or need to know and the latter by what you want your friends to think.” While Burden had a point, I believe there’s something more than that going on here.

We’re inundated by interesting content from a multitude of print, broadcast, digital and social channels. We constantly struggle to consume it – and comment on it – in real time. However the benefit of so many channels is a repackaging of the content into memes, snackable videos and short comments – a sort of “content once removed” phenomenon. To riff on Burden’s quote, “News you read is different than news you can talk about. The former is driven by what you actually need to know and the latter by what you can learn from what your friends read.”

Going back to the Olympics, I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything by not paying close attention to the games, or the direct coverage of them, because 50 percent of my friends and family have been. And by extension, their Twitter feeds, Facebook timelines and Tumblrs have been full of photos of door-smashing bobsledders and videos of skiers being taken out by Imperial AT-AT Walkers. So while I didn’t catch the Opening Ceremonies live, I know that Germany may or may not have been making a statement with their uniforms and the Olympic rings may or may not have failed to light (depending on where you watched).

And I know that whatever happens this week, I won’t feel left out if I don’t catch it in real time.

Marketers: Think Twice Before Sending a “Super” Tweet this Sunday

It’s been almost one year since Oreo came up with “The Tweet Heard Round the World.” When it comes to social media marketing, we still hold the Oreo example up as the Gold Standard – the cream filling of the crop if you will. The reason why shouldn’t be surprising. Since last year’s blackout-induced tweet, brands and individuals alike have tried to jump on buzz-worthy topics in an attempt to become part of the conversation in real-time. And, by and large, they have failed. Today’s call to action? To quote former NFL head coach Herm Edwards, “Don’t press send.”

As an industry, can we agree to be more judicious in our use of real-time marketing? Let’s not try to force lightning into the bottle. Examples of #TwitterFails are so common that BuzzFeed could have a section dedicated to them. And it isn’t limited to sporting events or real-time news.

AT&T was forced to apologize for a fairly innocuous tweet in remembrance of September 11. SpaghettiO’s raised the ire of the Twittersphere when it asked followers to “take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor.” While neither brand tweet was offensive, the general feeling was the brands were using national tragedy remembrances as marketing hooks and inserting themselves into conversations where they weren’t a natural fit.

This is a call to action to rethink real-time tweeting and consider your long-term marketing strategy instead. What is my bigger brand message? Does this ladder up to a longer-term strategy? Does it make sense for my auto/soda/beer/dog food company to be tweeting about Peyton Manning shivering in the cold? If the answer to any of those questions is no, don’t press send. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “better not to post a meme and be thought a fool than to hit send and remove all doubt.”

So to all of the marketers and brand managers and social media teams and anyone else who will be watching the Super Bowl and waiting for this year’s magic moment, take a moment to learn from those that have come before you. That doesn’t mean scrapping your social media strategy altogether, but be aware of the pitfalls of jumping into situations with content that isn’t true to your brand. Everyone wants to be the next “dunk in the dark,” but no one should risk being the next #TwitterFail.

Game Time: DGC Makes a “Play” at Philanthropy for Jewish Home Lifecare’s Casino Day

Coming off of a successful day of philanthropy just a few weeks ago at Educational Alliance’s Head Start Program, DGC took to Casino Day at Jewish Home Lifecare, a nursing and rehabilitation facility for elders in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In fact, the afternoon marked our fourth holiday philanthropy effort, having cleaned up the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and participated in a weekly food delivery campaign through God’s Love We Deliver in 2011. We also participated this year in New York Cares’ Coat Drive where we were able to not only donate our own coats but in fact a number of others from various businesses in our office building.

Before volunteering, I sought out the advice of an expert – both in card playing and in interacting with the elderly. My 92-year old grandmother. “Smile. Engage them in conversation. And when you’re playing cards, show a little ruchmunis – a little mercy.”

Needless to say, we didn’t need to show any mercy as these residents truly had a knack for these games! When we arrived, we were eagerly greeted by the residents – many of whom were anticipating Casino Day all week. And the volunteers from DGC were joined by those from UJA-Federation New York, the organization that provides volunteer services and nearly $200 million in annual funding to organizations like the Jewish Home Lifecare.

We arrived for orientation and were assigned to different tasks and groups. Those that manned casino games like poker dealer extraordinaire Howie “Aces High” Schacter and blackjack dealers Michael Isaacson and Jackie Berté found themselves on the front lines, while other DGC’ers like Soraya Eltomey and Melanie Mackey helped to escort the residents from their rooms and between games. Not to be forgotten were those of us that manned the prize room where the big winners of the day traded their vouchers for gifts such as stunning holiday scarves. Click here for photos of the day’s activities.

The takeaway from the day was clear, and my grandmother’s advice served as more of a theme. The residents were eager to have conversations with us – one gentleman even sought out Jackie to help him set up his Twitter account! And the smiles were in abundance – from the participants, the facility workers, and the volunteers. In fact, some of us have committed to coming back as volunteers on a regular basis.

We’d like to again thank our friends at UJA for what was yet another positive experience – a feeling I’m sure we will take with us into the New Year. Giving back to the community is incredibly important to us at DGC, and we look forward to continuing our volunteer efforts throughout the entire year of 2014. 

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