The Jersey Shore was terribly and significantly hurt by Sandy recently. In honor of helping the region that also shares the name of MTV’s hit reality mega success, the cast and network are teaming up tonight to “Restore the Shore“. The cast, who have deep ties to the region have already been back and are doing everything they can to leverage their influence in real life and on social to help bring the region back to its fullest. We interviewed MTV’s SVP of Public Affairs, Jason Rzepka about the TV special taking place tonight at 11pm Eastern.
The TV event won’t only feature the cast of the Shore. “One Direction, Alicia Keys, Mac Miller, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Pharrell, P!nk, Demi Lovato, Kim Kardashian, Ne-Yo, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars, No Doubt, fun., Carly Rae Jepsen, the Jonas Brothers and the MTV” family are coming together “to Help Rebuild Seaside Heights.” We spoke with Rzepka about the important event and how they’re leveraging the second screen and social TV for Seaside Heights in New Jersey.
Lost Remote: How’d restore the Shore come about?
Jason Rzepka: The day after the storm passed several members of the executive team started an email thread to brainstorm the ways that we could leverage the power of all of our screens to be part of the recovery. After learning of the tremendous and widespread damage, we decided we could make a more significant impact if we focused on one area. Our relationship with the town and people of Seaside Heights goes back to 1997 and we saw this as an opportunity to help rebuild the heart of the Jersey shore.
LR: Who’s idea was it?
Rzepka: The momentum started at MTV and we were lucky to partner with Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit organization that provides design and construction services to communities in need. Our visions were aligned from the first call and things moved rapidly.
LR: Have the cast been back since Sandy?
Rzepka: Yes, Nicole, Pauly, Vinny, Sam, Ron and Deena have all gone and visited the area.
LR: Any of the property MTV has used get damage?
Rzepka: It’s our understanding that nearly every business and home in the area was impacted in some way. The Jersey Shore house itself is in good condition. However, the t-shirt shop directly underneath it was completely wiped out.
LR: How is social being leveraged for this?
Rzepka: Social media has and will continue to play an important role in rallying awareness and support. Since announcing the special, MTV talent, especially the Jersey Shore cast, as well as a variety of celebrities and artists have leveraged their own social platforms to encourage donations.
During tonight’s program, we will activate all our our social channels to drive awareness. We’ll feature an avatar graphic promoting the show across all of our social accounts. Fans checking into GetGlue will unlock a special sticker. Members of our social team will be in the studio to Tweet and Instagram live from behind the scenes. We’ve also created exclusive “share this if you donated” graphics and animated gifs feature Jersey Shore talent that the audience can share across their social graph.
LR: How is MTV redefining the telethon?
Rzepka: Our core mission at MTV is to always be breaking new ground. With Restore the Shore, we saw an opportunity to re-imagine the telethon and update it for our audience. Instead of a traditional phone bank, we decided to focus on the areas where our audience is most likely to give — like texting or online donations. Throughout the night, the entire cast of the Jersey Shore and many of the biggest stars in the MTV family will be calling donors back and thanking them for their contributions. And all the calls will be made on duck phones!