Now We’ve Gone And Done It.

Reinventing Advertising is not as easy as it sounds. This shit is all hard and stuff. You gotta really work at it. And we’ve been working hard and we have a lot of progress to show for it. As we expected, the most difficult task in quantifying the efficacy of our NeoAdvertising theories would be to put them into practice with real clients on real marketing objectives.

In November of last year RADD, the entertainment industry’s voice for road safety retained Smart, (the first NeoAdvertising Practice) to help them influence teens and young adults against the deadly practice of sending text messages while driving.  The dangers of driving while texting (DWT) have been proven. Now the challenge is to get out the word. DWT is not cool—DWT is nuts.

Almost 6,000 people died in 2008 from fatal crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s 16% of all road deaths, up from 12% in 2007. NeoAdvertising had itself a real challenge on its hands. As with most Non-profits RADD had limited resources to get out the word. That made it perfect for Smart to develop a NeoAdNet that would generate enough news value to gain the press coverage we would need to gain awareness. Our objective was to launch a “buzz phrase” into the teen lexicon that would counter the growing perception that multi-tasking while driving was some-how the mark of being cool. Too cool to care.

The buzz phrase created by Smart was “DWT is NUTS.” That was it. Simple. Flat-footed. Authentic. Driving while texting is nuts. Initial teen intercepts gave us early indications that we were on the right track. We had the right bullet. But we needed a bigger gun. Erin Meluso the President of RADD had friends in high places. RADD’s “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” campaign was kown all over the world. We began the process of getting a bigger gun by increasing the size of the bullet. Smart and RADD made a full court press on the Federal Communications Commission. They own the channels that text messages are transmitted on. Our presentations to the FCC lead to their endorsement of RADD as an outreach partner. Now we were ready to go and get us that gun.

Smart advised RADD to go to the industry that had the most to lose by the Feds using a technology solution to shut down mobile texting. The Automobile Companies. Anti-texting jamming devices had the potential to be the seat belts of this generation. Erin Meluso was able to get us in front of the marketing and Corporate Affairs heads of Kia and Toyota. Kia blinked. Toyota jumped. We had our big gun. Now we just had to aim it to save.

“This issue is on the fast track to a national crisis. We need to get in front of DWT fast,” statee Erin Meluso, President of RADD in our joint release to the Press with Toyota. The organization’s “DWT is Nuts” campaign was left without a sponsor when the economic downturn led to budget cuts in corporate sponsorship. “Toyota was our white knight,” stated Ms. Meluso of the amazing effort Toyota Headquarters staff put in through the Thanksgiving holiday to help the 23-year-old non-profit advantage a prime location at the L.A. Auto Show to get their timely message in front of an anticipated 1.2 million auto show attendees.

“Toyota is dedicated to supporting both teens and parents in developing safe, responsible driving habits and protecting them on the road,” said Michael Rouse, Toyota’s Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Affairs. In support of measures to reduce teen driving accidents through education and real-world preparation, Toyota offers an advanced teen driving skills program for teens and parents, “Toyota Driving Expectations.” This mutual commitment to road safety led to the last minute alliance to “do something” where it counts – center stage among the tuner and technology section of the largest auto show in the West. Toyota’s Mr. Rouse said, “Since 2004, our goal with Toyota Driving Expectations has been to prepare teens with the critical skills and knowledge to handle real-world driving situations and to give parents some guidelines to be an effective coach and mentor. Making our streets safer requires an ongoing effort among many like-minded partners, such as the National Safety Council, MADD, SafetyBeltSafe, and now we are pleased to join with RADD to expand awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.” Over 13,000 participants have learned about risks associated with distracted driving among other life-saving lessons at Toyota’s event.

That message went out to media outlets all over the world. 288 news organizations ran with the story the very first day.

Now Toyota had counter-programming to the growing press coverage on their accelerator issues. A classic NeoAdvertising application, deployed across a wide expanse of media. We had a huge space at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where we had a brand new tricked out Scion to attract the kids and DWT is Nuts messaging to engage them in considering the cost of ten seconds of distracted driving on the family of six that had to stop short in front of them. The ones that would never see it coming.


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