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Forward Thinking   

      “Going the country route for our song gave the song and message a completely different vibe, and spread it much further”

SHMULI ROSENBERG, CEO of fwd/NYC, a marketing and strategic consulting firm in Lakewood, NJ, has long been a fan of country music. So, when he wanted to spread an important message about the negative impact of carelessly forwarding potentially embarrassing moments, he turned to that genre in writing “FRIENDS DON’T FORWARD.” He hoped it would maximize its impact.

“If we would have packaged the ‘Friends Don’t Forward’ message as your typical, mainstream frum singer singing a typical, mainstream frum song, I think it would have come across as preachy,” says the marketer and musician, composer and filmmaker who started out as a successful jingle writer. “Going the country route for our song — and we really went the whole way, using country session musicians who have played for Grammy winning artists — gave the song and message a completely different vibe, and spread it much further.”

Many country songs are, in fact, tragedies, but the nature of country music buffers the intensity of the subject, making it more palatable, and sometimes even ironic and funny. That’s how it is in “Friends Don’t Forward,” where the narrator’s downfall is cushioned by the song’s mellow tone and humor. And maybe that’s one factor contributing to the success of the accompanying campaign, “Be a friend and take the 49 days of no forwarding challenge.”

Even the Nashville-based fiddle player shared that she had refrained from forwarding a funny but potentially embarrassing video, because the song had made her think twice.

Up next for Rosenberg is a pop-style song called “Look Up,” sung in collaboration with 8th Day, which is about opening your eyes to look up from screens, comments, and likes from strangers, and instead to focus on those closest to you in order to live a life of connection and reality.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 919)

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