Thursday, August 23, 2012

Marketing "Don't Text While Driving"

Fans of Fox's Glee remember the dramatic car crash that injured cheerleader/mom/rebel/college-bound Quinn Fabray: She was texting while driving to Rachel and Finn's wedding and never saw the pickup that smashed into her car.

Now that moment is part of a nationwide PSA campaign, "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks," to discourage texting while driving. Fox is one of many media companies supporting the campaign, which is sponsored by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration and attorneys general in every state. It includes several ads, including this one.

August is "Texting and driving awareness" month in some states. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are making it easy to participate by providing an app that automatically locks cell phones when cars are moving or routes calls to voice-mail to avoid distracting drivers. April was "National distracted driving awareness month" and the Department of Transportation's slogan this year was "One Text or Call Could Wreck It All."

Although texting while driving is illegal in many states, changing attitudes and behavior takes time. The first step is to increase awareness of the dangers, which these marketing campaigns do, and then motivate drivers to do things differently (and encourage their friends to do things differently).

In the UK, after a major newspaper reported that 500,000 crashes each year were caused by women applying make-up while driving, Volkswagen created a public service announcement featuring a YouTube make-up personality with 200,000 followers. Here's the video, which received 1.5 million views:

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