Micheal McCarthy and Howard Klein pose after not having shaved for over a week - and counting

Talking with the creator of the Shave the Shore campaign, part I

Dec. 18, 2012
PART I: I spoke with Howard Klein, president and owner of Lanmark360, about the origins and ultimate success of the Shave the Shore campaign and what's in store for their philanthropic efforts in 2013.

December 18, 2012

PART I: On the origins of the campaign and exceeding goals

I spoke with Howard Klein, president and owner of Lanmark360 in West Long Branch, NJ, about the origins and ultimate success of the Shave the Shore campaign and what's in store for their philanthropic efforts in 2013.

Michael McCarthy, chief strategy officer, and Howard Klein, president and owner of Lanmark360

First of all, the creativity behind the whole campaign is pretty impressive: the Shave the Shore website with the day-by-day photo montage of your beard growing out, all of the pictures that were added to the Lanmark Facebook page… Who was behind those ideas?
The overall concept was an idea that I had when the storm hit. Like many here in New Jersey, I was home with my family without electricity and, you know, was finding different ways to get information to see what was going on. Just from the pictures that were getting texted (because we didn’t have internet access) and talking to friends and relatives outside the state that had access to the news, I knew it was bad. Before I had a chance to leave the house and see how bad it was firsthand, I was thinking how I – and my company – could help. Just being in the house, I wasn’t shaving and I thought, “You know what, I’m going to continue not to shave so I can help those that have been affected by the storm and to rebuild the shore.” When I reached out to my team, I had unbelievable support, as I always do. We developed the logo and got started. My creative director, social media coordinator, and I, along with a few others, met here and started working and exploring with ways that we could get a site up quickly. The concept was mine, but I couldn’t have launched the campaign without the help of Lanmark360 and beyond. Michael McCarthy, the chief strategy officer at Lanmark360, pledged not to shave before we even went public. Personal friends pledged not to shave. When I announced it on my personal Facebook, clients and friends were pledging donations just on Facebook, before we even had the site set up. Everyone was commenting “Put me down for $100,” “Put me down for $50” and asking, “Where can we donate?”

The donation site for Shave the Shore is still open. Are people still donating? And are people still talking about it, or has the excitement died down?
It’s definitely slowed down. Currently we’re at $21,051. Our intent is to keep the site live and active and continue to get the word out and publicize the campaign in hopes that donations will continue to come in. We hope that those friends and colleagues who’ve made donations will continue to spread the word so that donations still come in. Since we met our goal, we’ve gotten $1,051 more. We hope to see that continue. Anything helps: $5, $10, $15. Every little bit helps. We have some big ones – Darby Dental pledged $5,000 – but we appreciate the small donations as much as the big donations. It’s not about the amount, it’s just the fact that you’re giving at all. Those small donations add up to a lot. Many of us reside close to the Jersey Shore. With many people, it’s business back to usual, but it’s easy to forget that there are still so many out there that are still faced with challenging and hard times and still don’t have homes. We recently had a reminder of that – we had clients that were scheduled to come in from out of town, so we went through our normal channels of getting a hotel. Bungalow, the hotel we normally choose to host our clients, is booked (and it’s never at this time of year), but it’s with families that are displaced from their homes that are living in a hotel. There’s another hotel that we often use, and it’s the same situation there. We have a hard time finding hotels for our clients. So it was a reminder that though many of our lives are back to normal, there are still people whose lives are not back to normal.

Since you set a goal of $10,000, I’m sure you didn’t expect to raise twice as much. Were their any other surprises of the campaign?
The biggest surprise was the support that we received from the dental industry. It was just amazing. I’ve been in the industry for 15-16 years now. There was always the joke that once you get in, you’ll never get out. Looking at that now, I mean, it’s obvious why I never left and why I started out in this industry as the PR coordinator at Lanmark Group. 15 years later, I own the agency. It’s a truly amazing group of people that I look at as extended family: from publishers to dentist friends to clients, it was just unbelievable how fast the money was coming in. One of our clients, DentalEZ, has Dr. Practice, which is like DentalEZ’s Verizon guy: he has a blog, he’s included in their ads, in their marketing material, so it was really cool to see Dr. Practice grow a beard – it was a really unique way for one of our clients support the cause and promote the word throughout the industry.
Michael Bocian, the vice president of sales and marketing at Darby Dental, put the challenge forth thatif we raised $15,000, Darby would pledge $5,000. It surprised me because we were so close to hitting the goal, and just when we thought we were done, Darby came forth with the challenge. It was happy surprise because I was really looking for a chance to continue. Darby gave us a really good reason and the motivation to continue. That was one of the biggest surprises in the campaign.
Another thing that I was thrilled with was – we’re a marketing agency and we handle PR for our clients and, while we don’t do a lot of self-promotion, we do some – before we had a chance to write a press release and call editorial staff, the dental media was all over it. The story was picked up from social media. Digital media was putting the story on their homepages and helped us publicize the campaign without us even asking. Once we sent out press releases, they supported us through that too. It was amazing to see the support we received from editorial without asking. It was also a testament to social media. We started generating publicity beyond social media because the story was making it to editorial offices.

Read Part II of the interview to find out how women participated in a male-oriented challenge, future volunteer opportunities, and final words on the campaign’s success.

Lauren Burns is the editor of Proofs magazine and the email newsletters RDH Graduate and Proofs. She is currently based out of New York City. Follow her on Twitter: @ellekeid.