Sue Scheff: No Text is Worth Dying Over

AT&T recently launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the risks of texting and driving and remind all wireless consumers, especially youth, that text messages can – and should – wait until after driving.

The national campaign features true stories and the text message that was sent or received before someone’s life was altered, or even ended,because of texting and driving.

Stop what you’re doing. Take out your wireless device. Read out loud the last text message you received. Would reading or responding to that text message while driving be worth causing a serious accident? When you look at it that way, there’s no text that couldn’t wait.

AT&T* is launching today a new campaign to raise awareness about the risks of texting and driving and remind all wireless consumers, especially youth, that text messages can – and should – wait until after driving.

The national campaign features true stories and the text message that was sent or received before someone’s life was altered, or even ended, because of texting and driving. By featuring real stories, the campaign will demonstrate how insignificant a text message is compared to the potentially dire consequences of reading or responding while driving.

For example, in one of the television spots, the text “Where u at?” flashes on the screen and a mother says, “This is the text my daughter was reading when she drove into oncoming traffic.” The ad also includes the message “No text is worth dying over” and the campaign’s tagline, “Txtng & Drivng … It Can Wait.”

“We explored several campaign concepts but we didn’t have our ‘aha!’ moment until we asked one of our focus groups to take out their devices and read the last text they received,” said Cathy Coughlin, senior executive vice president and global marketing officer for AT&T. “When we asked if that particular message was worth the potential risk of reading while driving at 65 mph, you could have heard a pin drop. That’s when we realized the message ‘it can wait’ was effective in educating consumers about the dangers of texting while driving.”

The new campaign will span print, radio, TV and online advertising – which will be rolled out in the coming months – as well as in-store signage, collateral and online billing. In addition, parents, high school educators and, most importantly, youth, can now visit AT&T’s online resource center www.att.com/txtngcanwait . The site includes downloadable information about texting while driving such as a parent-teen pledge; a teen-teen pledge; a poster; a brochure; safety tips; and more.

AT&T also has launched a Facebook application, which can be found at www.facebook.com/att. Friends can share this application with one another to encourage each other to take the pledge to not text and drive. AT&T will also be promoting the pledge via a “twitition” on Twitter to ask followers to rally around the cause. You can follow @ShareATT on Twitter. In addition, to honor those taking the pledge, AT&T will contribute $250,000 to one or more non-profit organizations focused on youth safety and will announce the selected non-profit organization(s) at the start of National Youth Safety Month in May.

“While our campaign is important for all drivers, we’re particularly focused on youth,” said Coughlin.

In September 2009, AT&T announced a commitment to raise awareness about the issue of texting and driving through a multifaceted initiative to educate employees, customers and the general public about using wireless devices safely while driving.

Since then, AT&T has revised its wireless and motor vehicle policies to more clearly and explicitly prohibit texting and driving, impacting its approximately 280,000 employees; incorporated a don’t-text-and-drive message on the plastic clings that protect handset screens on the majority of new devices sold in AT&T’s more than 2,200 stores; and will integrate campaign messaging in AT&T catalogs, in-store signage and collateral, bills, e-mails, newsletters and more.

By using multiple touch points, AT&T expects the campaign to reach millions.

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