“It’s jelly donut time.”
It’s a phrase that has been tweeted in some form from the Buckeye Donuts Twitter account six times in the past two weeks, and one that many of the more than 2,000 followers of the account would know well. It’s the brainchild of Al Geiner of Al Geiner PR and Creative Concepts.
“I’ve always loved jelly doughnuts,” Geiner said. “They’ve been my favorite thing.”
Geiner got the idea for the phrase from the movie “Hollywood,” in which the main character talks about how jelly doughnuts call to him and as a result ruin his diet.
“‘Jelly donut time’ is (Geiner’s) creation. At first I’m like ‘Oh that’s so hokey, come on,’” said Buckeye Donuts owner Jimmy Barouxis. “But people kind of get a kick out of it.”
Barouxis said he often gets customers coming into the store, located at 1998 N. High St., who ask about who runs the account.
Geiner discovered Buckeye Donuts about eight years ago and quickly befriended Barouxis. Having decades of experience in PR, he soon asked if he could help promote the store. Geiner started the store’s official Twitter account in 2013, and soon after, Barouxis wanted to get in on the fun.
“I kind of jumped in myself because it looked like he was having a lot of fun with it,” Barouxis said.
Geiner never studied public relations in an academic setting. Rather, he first encountered the field when he was in high school in the 1980s and made fanzines to promote new-wave bands, cutting and pasting using a typewriter and Xerox machine.
In the 1990s, he became a talent scout for a British record label after meeting a PR specialist on a plane to England. Geiner’s grandmother is Welsh, and he said that is why he likes to occasionally use British phrases and spellings in his tweets for Buckeye Donuts.
He learned the ropes in public relations with the label and started his own firm in the early 2000s. He said he’s worked with comedians, bands, gay clubs, actors and fashion designers over the years.
Today, he manages public relations locally for Barry’s Bagels in Dublin, Ohio, but also has clients in cities such as Los Angeles, New York City and London.
Instead of planning his tweets ahead of time, Geiner prefers a more spontaneous approach.
“Ideas have always just popped into my head, like ‘Oh this sounds good, or let’s have a little cheeky fun with this.’ I’m a not even near-the-box kind of person,” he said. “I also pay attention to the hashtag trends that are going on.”
Barouxis follows a similar philosophy.
“I can’t pre-plan my tweets, I’ve tried to do that — it doesn’t work,” he said. “A good tweet is just one of those things, you have to catch it at the right moment and tweet it right away. You can’t think about it. If it hits you, just tweet it. Who cares if it’s good or bad? People are either going to like it, or they’re not going to respond to it. There’s really very little risk.”
In his time in the public-relations field, Geiner has seen the rise of social media as a medium for promotion. He said he communicates mostly online with clients — some of them he hasn’t spoken with over the phone. It’s a lot different and easier to connect with people from when he first started in the industry, he said.
“This was still before the internet, using my typewriter, fax machine, rolodex, going to the post office every other day and mailing stacks of pitches to editors,” Geiner said.
Barouxis said the main purpose of the Buckeye Donuts Twitter account is for fun and to connect with customers.
“It doesn’t always have to make sense,” he said. “Sometimes the tweets don’t make sense or the grammar is wrong. But who cares? It’s Twitter. You can’t take it too seriously.”