For more than two decades, car crashes have been the number one killer of teens in the United States. Recently, the Advertising Council joined with a coalition of state Attorneys General and consumer protection agencies to launch a series of PSAs) designed to save lives by reducing teen reckless driving. But this one is different — the ads turn the typical on its ear, using three well-known comedians to deliver some very serious messages to teens.
Research conducted by the Ad Council shows that teen drivers are more likely to listen to their friends than the adults in their lives. No surprise to parents of teens.
What’s great is that the new ads (TV, radio, outdoor and interactive) work with this peer-to-peer influence, rather than fight it. The TV spots feature comedians Rachel Harris, Fred Willard and Rob Riggle acting as teen passengers who humorously “speak up” to prevent a car crash: “If your friend is driving recklessly, say something.”
The PSAs direct audiences to visit www.SpeakUpOrElse.com, where for motivation and practical tools to help them speak up. Additional elements to come include a free iPhone and iPod Touch app that turns a phone device into a bullhorn with flashing lights that can be used to inform a friend of his or her reckless driving. (I’d like to use that for my own citizen arrests.)
Site users can also user send instant message videos, starring the comedians, to friends. The recipient, expecting a friend to chat, will receive a reckless driving video instead. All of these tools are designed to get the point across with humor rather than a heavy hand, from one teen to another.
This is a considered, creative example of reaching audiences where they are (on social networks, online, etc) with messaging that means something to them (peer-to-peer) and making it easy for them to pass the word. Job well done.
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