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September 9th, 2010
Jessica Ravitz, CNN.com
Eric Yaverbaum is as guilty as anyone of making technological transgressions. He’s ignored family to check emails while at the dinner table and tuned out of actual conversations to tune into Twitter. But the 49-year-old New York public relations executive isn’t afraid to admit his sins. “I’m the guy who sleeps with his BlackBerry,” Yaverbaum says. “I’m raising my hand and saying, ‘Yes, I’m an addict.” He is trying to make amends, though, and thinks you should, too. It is that time of year, after all.
The Jewish High Holy Days began at sunset Wednesday with the start of Rosh Hashana, or the Jewish New Year. They end at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on the night of September 18. These 10 days, often referred to as the Days of Awe, are a time when Jews take stock of their lives, how they’ve lived them over the past year and seek forgiveness from individuals they may have wronged, intentionally or otherwise.
Yaverbaum and Mark DiMassimo, a New York advertising exec who is not Jewish, partnered up to launch Offlining, an initiative to promote unplugging that was introduced on Father’s Day. The challenge they put forth then was to ask people to make a pledge to have 10 device-free dinners between then and Thanksgiving. So far, more than 10,500 have signed on. To read more click click here.
August 30, 2010
Click, send, call, text, Like, tweet, undo, reset, delete… it just doesn’t end. Which is why a couple of marketing guys are dubbing September 18 “No Device Day” for consumers who might be too involved with their gadgets.
Though the idea of dedicating an entire day to shutting devices off may seem silly (or virtually impossible) to some, Mark DiMassimo, CEO of ad firm Digo, and Eric Yaverbaum say they believe Americans need to be reminded to turn off their electronics from time to time. Thus, their “lifestyle intervention.”
They didn’t randomly choose September 18 for the latest installment of the larger Offlining ad campaign, though. It’s also Yom Kippur, considered by many Jews to be the holiest day of the year. On this day, also known as the Day of Atonement, observant Jews disengage from things like playing on their BlackBerrys, as well as other daily activities like writing, playing instruments, and even eating. To read more click here.
Choose your poster child for drunk dialing — we’ve chosen ours! Mel Gibson taught the world not to mix alcohol and communications devices, and he’s generously left us many, many recordings to remind us should we ever forget. We created Offlining Inc. to sell you on establishing a sane balance between online and offline time — and, well, we just felt that when it comes to insane examples of too much digital communication, well Mel set a new standard for us all to avoid. But, he’s not alone. Lindsay and Tiger have been pressed into service in this campaign as well.
August, 22nd 2010
In the spring, Mark DiMassimo, CEO and chief creative officer of DIGO, and Eric Yaverbaum, president of Ericho Communications residents of Rye and Larchmont respectively — founded Offlining Inc., a campaign that calls on dads to forego their wireless devices to create blocks of family-only time between Father’s Day and Thanksgiving. The following are excerpts of an e-mail exchange between reporter Patrick Gallagher and the marketing duo.
Q: What inspired you to launch Offlining Inc.?
A: We were experiencing some degree of failure to put our online lives in their place. We have kids, we have people who want our attention. Technology provides some amazing tools for connecting, managing and playing, but at some point we just started to ask ourselves — are we holding the strings or are we the puppets?
The best way to get our full attention is to build the aspiration into a brand and a movement, so we came up with Offlining.
Q: In the past several years since the launch of devices such as the iPhone, have people become too attached to their wireless devices?
A: We think it’s great that these products are so good that you can’t imagine living without them. But, we think your relationships will be stronger and your life will be richer if you learn to use the off button from time to time. Trust us.
Q: It would be unrealistic to think people will entirely abandon their Blackberries, iPhones and laptops. What do you think would be a good middle ground?
A: We’ve suggested 10 Device-Free dinners between now and Thanksgiving. That’s a good start. We’re not giving up our devices and we’re not asking you to either.
We’d like to be able to reach you, so out of pure selfishness, we want you to keep your device. We just want you to do enough to make some room for offline life in your life.
Q: Since launching the initiative, what feedback have you gotten from dads who have taken the pledge?
A: We expected some criticism, we even tried to provoke a bit with our cheeky cards, but so far we just keep getting a lot of “Right on!” People just really feel that this is a real issue in their lives, one that they struggle with, and they like the acknowledgement that this is a real issue.
At kids soccer games around the country, hyperconnected Dads tweet about trivia to pass the time. Meanwhile, as you walk into a supposedly social event, people all around you pull out their devices to “check in” on Foursquare or Gowalla. Through the night, people continue sharing their real feelings and thoughts not with the person in front of them but to their audience of “followers” on Twitter, making a real life social event feel decidedly ANTI-social. Sound familiar? As technology allows us to share every moment instantaneously online, are we missing out on what is right in front us? And if so, is the only solution to turn our gadgets off, or is there some imaginary line of balance that we can strike? This session will explore those questions, and the anti-social path that our always-connectedness may be leading us towards. Most importantly, we’ll try to uncover how you might fight back and reclaim your humanity from the social media bubble around you. We like the idea, let them know what you think! … To read more click here.
Even though it was only a few years ago, life in the year 1999 B.C. – Before Cell Phones – is difficult to imagine now. More than a platform to play ‘Bejeweled’, cell phones have become an essential tool for communicating in today’s modern world. With text messaging, e-mail and evenTwitter now used as vital modes of communication, life without a cell phone seems little more than a a Yakov Smirnoff “In Soviet Russia…” joke — or if you’re truly tech-obsessed, a total nightmare.
But even with the added convenience and ease that a cell phone brings, there are some definite downsides. Some experts believe excessive use can cause us to become more impatient, impulsive, forgetful and even more narcissistic, reports the New York Times. A recent poll conducted by the paper found that people think cell phones are intrusive and increase stress levels. To read more click here.
DIGO, the agency that builds brands and businesses, is now getting to build out some new space due to building its own business. The lease of new space contiguous with the current agency offices at 220 East 23rd Street has both architects and agency team-members delighted. The new space will contain more offices and project rooms, a common area. Rumors of a wet bar are all wet, however the agency ping pong table will remain. Clients and visitors will enjoy a new reception area, and Lee will finally achieve his dream of a state-of-the-art conference room. If you haven’t been to the space lately, may we suggest stopping by for a visit and a tour in the next few months.
B2C Marketing Insider
July 27th, 2010
Has Technology Become a Drug? Providing Balance with Offlining, Inc.
A new initiative has been launched — Offlining, Inc.— that urges (initially) parents to turn off their mobile devices and computers, and focus more quality attention on the people that matter most in their lives. The ‘Offlining’ founders are Eric Yaverbaum and Mark DiMassimo, the innovative marketing entrepreneurs behind the environmental movement Tappening and the political and educational Read To Vote campaign. In our technology-obsessed modern world, Offlining offers an opportunity to foster more balance between technology and our humanity, by encouraging us to incorporate traditional communication modes into our everyday lives.
Says DiMassimo, “Eric and I have spent most of the past two decades convincing people to click, log on, trade stocks in their underwear, go shopping online, and spend more time with their digital friends. We’re still doing that. But now we’re also selling the Off Button! We don’t believe we’re starting a trend.’ To read more click here.