Let Them Know You Care

The cause is important. The numbers are staggering. One in 10 young adults will face homelessness each year. So, when we were asked to put our Tevelady MEDIA direct response television skills to work, we were excited to play a role in helping raise money for such an important cause. Covenant House is the largest charity dedicated to helping children find safety, shelter and opportunity. For over 40 years, Covenant House has helped more than 1.5 million youth transform their lives. And now, Tevelady MEDIA is getting this critical message out via television.

Covenant House U.S. had never tried television before, but their colleagues to the north recently had success with a direct response television campaign in Canada. Our production plan for the TV commercial incorporated some of the powerful footage from the Canadian spot along with captivating storytelling from existing assets within the Covenant House library. By using the right music, video, sound bites, graphics and voice over, our commercial generates an emotional reaction and compels viewers to make a monthly or one-time donation.

Within the commercial, we added an exclusive free gift as an incentive for potential donors. This is an important component of the DRTV strategy. We knew a blanket would be a perfect complement to the program and sourced a soft, fleece custom blanket. When selecting the blanket and packaging, we were mindful of the size, weight and flexibility in order to qualify for the most economical postage rate. We also needed to get the proper fulfillment center on board to manage the shipment of the blankets as well as the donor acknowledgement. The blanket we designed is now in the hands of donors who pledged only $19 a month to this worthy cause!

Next, we identified a call center to handle the influx of calls to come at all hours of the day and night. Developing the script, training the agents and anticipating the many questions people might ask are essential elements to ensure a successful DRTV campaign. We provided the necessary verbiage for operators standing by to take donations.

With the TV spot complete, the media buying in place, the custom Covenant House website landing page ready to go, the blankets in the warehouse and the phone calls ready to be answered, we launched our campaign on January 14th. We’re analyzing the media, assessing stations and dayparts, monitoring calls, giving feedback to agents, tweaking scripts and working hard to ensure this campaign succeeds.

Take a look at our spot. We hope it compels you to pick up your phone or go online to SupportCovenantHouse.org to fund this critical cause. You can even wrap yourself warmly in a soft, fleece blanket as a thank you!

DRTV campaigns incorporate our three favorite words: Strategizing. Digitizing. Sharing.

We’re ready to help you get your message/product/cause out to the public in a big, meaningful way, just like we did for Covenant House!

Never Forget & Be There

By Lori M. Berlin

There are two hashtags you’ll be seeing regularly from Tevelady MEDIA in September. Each holds its own important, distinctive and personal meaning to me.

For many years, Tuesdays were my Sundays. I covered the NFL for more than nine years as a bureau producer at ESPN, so Tuesdays were my off days. It was a day for errands, catching up with friends, hitting the gym, and Tuesdays with Gertrude (technically before there were “tuesdays with Morrie”).

Every Tuesday afternoon, as a volunteer for Dorot, I would spend an hour hanging out with Gertrude, a nonagenarian living in her own Upper West Side apartment. She read the New York Times daily, so we’d talk current events and the arts. After we met, she started reading the sports pages and we’d talk about championship boxing or the NFL after returning from my assignments.

Then there was the unforgettable Tuesday morning in September. I could not have wished for a more beautiful Tuesday to start my Sunday. I’ll always remember looking up and seeing the most magnificent blue, crystal clear New York City sky. The temperature was perfect. The first stop on this 11th day of the month would be the voting booth before heading to the gym.

“Re-rack the tape, re-rack the tape,” I kept saying to myself while working out at Reebok after seeing the initial special report. A small plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center, or so they thought. If they rewind the tape they’d be able to see what actually happened, or so I thought. I immediately left the gym, listening to the radio on my tiny yellow Walkman, stopped at Food Emporium for bread and milk (because during a disaster you’re supposed to have bread and milk in the house), came home and put on the TV. Between the few minutes of WTF and the world is about to change forever, there was a call from my doorman downstairs. The perfect chair I’d been searching for was finally being delivered. The Macy’s guys dropped the chair and ran out to get home before every bridge and tunnel was closed.

My cousin Davey was on 42nd Street outside of Port Authority on his way to Secaucus for an interview with the NBA. He looked up and saw the breaking news on all the Jumbotrons, then learned the Port Authority was shut down. He jumped on the subway, where he saw people who had been at the World Trade Center, and he came to my apartment. Many of us left our front doors open. We were all in disbelief. Thank goodness I did not know anyone who worked in the World Trade Center, I kept thinking. A neighbor I did not know was in the hallway yelling, “My fiancé, my fiancé” before she went into the elevator and ran into the street before the doorman could stop her. Thankfully, her fiancé was OK. He was on his way downtown, but she couldn’t reach him. The phones were not working. I remember I couldn’t get through to people a few blocks away, but I did get a call from my friend Tony who was in Australia. Everyone was checking on everyone. If you weren’t one of the thousands of people walking uptown, you were glued to the TV. When were they going to show us footage of people being rescued from the rubble?

The next morning I went around the corner to volunteer at the Red Cross. Apparently, this wasn’t an original idea. There were tons of people online, so I walked across the street to the local firehouse. I’d never been to Engine 40/Ladder 35, my neighborhood firehouse since moving to the UWS in 1986. I didn’t know what I could do, but figured we were nowhere near the World Trade Center and there just might be something I could do to help.

Thanks to Paul, then Jack, this September 12 marks the 6,209 day of my friendship with my 4035 family. They can’t get rid of me. From fundraising and vacations, to births and deaths, we’ve all shared many life experiences together. My life has forever changed and I will never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. All 11 firefighters working in Engine 40/Ladder 35 on 9/11 were killed. And now the first responders who were off duty or retired on 9/11, the ones who went to work digging through the toxic debris at the WTC site searching for the 2,753 innocent lives lost, are sick and dying.

First responders like my friends Ray, Robert, John, Joe, Chris and many other firefighters from Engine 40/Ladder 35 spent months digging on the pile at ground zero. While I was volunteering at the firehouse or launching a golf tournament to raise money for scholarships for kids of firefighters, my friends were downtown risking their own lives in the hopes of giving other families a little bit of closure. It turns out I really did know people who worked at the World Trade Center.

Ray is gone now. He died on May 28, 2017 from 9/11 cancer. Craig from 4035 started The Ray Pfeifer Foundation, a 501c3 charitable organization, dedicated to assisting September 11th first responders, firefighters and police, with medical needs not covered by insurance. The foundation carries on Ray’s legacy of helping others. “Do the right thing, even when no one is looking,” Ray would say.

As the only non-first responder on the board, we’re all volunteers trying to “do the right thing” for our heroes to help ensure a better quality of life for them in their darkest days. We will never forget our 9/11 first responders. Not this month, not ever.

September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As a longtime volunteer for the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, the gold ribbons represent the countless kids with cancer, their families, and the selfless TCJF team I’ve been fortunate to know over the last 14 years.

The first Coughlin I really got to know was actually Judy, Tom’s wife. My friend Andrea introduced us while we were working at an NFL owners meeting. Years later, when TC was hired in 2004 as head coach of the NY Giants, Judy asked me if I would meet with her daughter Keli who ran TCJF from Jacksonville. The foundation needed to start putting together a playbook to help pediatric oncology patients in the NY/NJ area. They were kicking off some fundraising efforts, and Judy knew I was doing the FDNY golf tournament.

I remember meeting with Keli in my office at ESPN’s Cold Pizza. I wasn’t sure what I could do, but was happy to do anything to help their families. Eventually I became a regular volunteer for TCJF. To be there for these kids, to see the smiles on their faces at our Sundae Blitz (hands down THE best volunteer day of the year), is also something I will do forever.

Our annual Champions for Children Gala is in September again this year. From coordinating the blue carpet interviews to handing out auction claim letters, I will be there to do whatever is needed.

Whether it’s setting up TV interviews with Ray Pfeifer Foundation board members at a firehouse on Staten Island, or simply holding a door open at the Giants facility for our TCJF pediatric oncology patients, to me it doesn’t matter what the calendar says. I will #NeverForget and I will always #BeThere.

Brands Are People Too

Tevelady MEDIA is proud to share our latest project – a dynamic new website – with you. LauraOkmin.com is an ideal example of why branding is so important today. Everyone, every thing is a brand. Sometimes it’s hard to see yourself as an actual brand, but you are.

When our friend, Laura Okmin, came to us in need of a website, we were delighted she would also become our client. Not only is she a powerful voice in the world of sports, but she’s also a leader for empowering women. And, speaking of women … the three of us had a great time working with each other. Laura and Lori go way back and often reminisced about their days covering football together, which meant Cindy got to learn everything she ever needed to know about sports. We shared stories of life, love and books. Cindy even got engaged!! We had some laughs and maintained a completely collaborative process throughout this project.

We became familiar with everything about Laura’s “brand” and proceeded to develop a dynamic, storytelling focused site. Throughout Laura’s years of experience as a sports reporter, she has told countless stories about others. From cool videos of Laura fishing with Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher in her PROfiles series to going with Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers to visit his hometown of Chico, CA, to seeing her GALvanize girls around the country, we had a lot of compelling content to work with to make Laura’s website come to life and accurately reflect her “brand.”

OK, it may have taken a little convincing for Laura to be comfortable with an entire website being all about HER, but we knew her message of trust, purpose and believing in yourself had to be shared. In fact, Laura taught us some important life lessons along the way!

At Tevelady MEDIA, we’ll make it easy for your target market to get to know what you’ve got for them. We are strong believers in engaging your audience through multiple touchpoints with omnichannel marketing efforts to attract the consumer with a seamless experience. Each channel needs to accurately represent your brand clearly and organically. We’ll make sure all the content tells your story.  Don’t just say what you do, but let your audience really get to know you. Let them learn about your brand’s personality and inspire them to be moved by your messaging or to take action.

Connecting to a market is all about branding – who you are, what you offer and why anyone should be interested. Whether you’re branding a product, a service or a personality, it’s critical to do so with insight and experience.  We tap into visual branding with impactful videos, entertaining photos and important text. We create a story.  A story you want to hear and see.  Let’s start telling your story … together.


Yes, Me Too

By Lori M. Berlin

As a runner for ABC Sports in the 80’s, I was a college kid answering phones in the “A unit” production truck. It was a big deal. Monday Night Baseball, Monday Night Football, US Open Golf. What a great opportunity, and all thanks to someone my dad worked with in the garment center.

My dad’s business associate had a brother who worked in the accounting department at ABC Sports. The brother graciously connected me with a production assistant who hired me to work at major events for $35 a day. It was a big deal. If the production assistant liked you, sometimes you’d get an extra day’s pay as a little bonus.

As runners, we had to pay our own way to get to the events we wanted to work. Between DC, Baltimore, Philly and New York, there were plenty of opportunities for me to be part of the atmosphere, to go back to college and tell everyone what I had learned. It was a big deal.

Surrounded by the biggest names in TV sports, it was like being a sponge soaking up first hand knowledge of how to produce and direct the biggest events on television.

“Boobs, answer the phone.”

 “Boobs, get me some coffee.”

His headset key was open for the entire crew to hear. Everyone knew he had a reputation. No one would tell him to stop talking to me that way. I had two choices. Say something, and risk never working in the TV sports business or say nothing, and just take the abuse. It was a big deal.

As a 20-something just starting out in what I hoped would be a life-long career in sports television production, there didn’t really seem to be a choice at all. How could I continue to absorb the disrespect, the embarrassment, the feeling of disgust?

At halftime, we all walked out of the truck for some air and food. Countless people (men AND women) came up to me asking if I was OK. They all heard the verbal abuse, of course they did. It was a big deal. Would someone speak up on my behalf? Who was going to tell this powerful man his behavior was disgusting, inappropriate and unprofessional? Apparently no one.

I walked over to him, called him by name and said, “How would you like it if some man was talking to your daughter the way you’ve been talking to me?” For a split second his face and body language changed. It was like he was just punched in the gut. He paused, and then replied, “Well, if I knew he could treat her as well as I could treat you, it wouldn’t bother me.” Without missing a beat, I replied, “You’re full of shit,” and then walked away.

Never again did I hear, “Boobs answer the phone. Boobs get me a cup of coffee.” Instead, he always called me by my proper name. I also continued to work many more events in his production truck. It was a big deal.

The particular director has since passed away, but we know the behavior lives on. This must stop. It’s a big deal.

The Year Ahead

2017 was a full and exciting year for Tevelady MEDIA. Lori and I kicked off our partnership with a fun video session in NYC where I learned applicable on-air coaching skills to pull off our own video about Tevelady MEDIA. Be sure to watch it if you haven’t already.

As we look to 2018, we are filled with energy and enthusiasm for what lays ahead.  From building and optimizing consumer focused websites to connecting companies and brands directly to their consumers, we are finding unique opportunities to make our clients relevant in today’s world.  Consumers are overwhelmed with the abundance of content that they are exposed to on a daily basis.  We excel in cutting through the clutter and attracting your audience.  Do not underestimate how critical it is for your brand to be relevant and stay relevant.  One such opportunity is through storytelling with branded video.  From quick and easy to share stories to more detailed documentary style presentations, your brand can and will stand out!  Humanize your brand by putting a face to your company.  Your customers want to know who they are dealing with – show them firsthand what a wonderful and caring company you represent.  This kind of behind the scenes glimpse into your business makes people connect and want to do business with you!