NEW YORK, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Currently most campaigns against texting and driving use scare tactics to get young people to change their behavior. However, even though car accidents are the number one killer of teenagers in this country and teens are most likely to be in a distracted driving car accident because of a phone, scare tactics are not always effective. DoSomething.org, the nation's largest organization for teens and social change, founding partner Sprint, and Toyota took a different approach with their Thumb Wars campaign – increasing engagement by making the issue fun to talk about. And it seems to have worked -- more than 220,000 teens signed up for the campaign in its second year, making it five times bigger than the first year.
The campaign ran from June 19 through August 2 and motivated teens to use their thumbs to educate friends about the dangers of texting and driving, offering two pairs of colorful, silly thumb socks. Teens were encouraged to wear the socks while driving and share them with friends and family to help prevent texting while driving. DoSomething.org sent out 60,000 pairs, depleting their whole supply in just six weeks. Participants could also enter photo caption contests to win thumb socks signed by campaign spokesperson (and Glee heartthrob), Harry Shum, Jr. At the end of the campaign, one teenager received a $10,000 scholarship for their efforts to help prevent texting and driving.
Harry starred in the campaign's PSA, where he declares "texting and driving is stupid" and encourages teens to join the good fight. Ever wonder what thumbs would sound like if they could talk? Harry also acts out a pretty convincing thumb war, complete with weird thumb voices. You can view the PSA at www.dosomething.org/thumbwars and Harry's thumb war at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk97TQ5mLbc&feature=relmfu. Other celebrities who supported this year's campaign by sharing their safety fashion sense and rocking the thumb socks on the red carpet include Keegan Allen, Nigel Barker, Corbin Bleu, Kat Graham, band members from IM5, Karlie Kloss, Tyler Posey and Chaske Spencer.
"When rocking something as stylish as yellow and grey thumb socks, texting while driving just seems ridiculous, obviously," said Dave DeLuca, Head of Campaigns at DoSomething.org.
"According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 40% of American teens say they have been in a car with someone who was using their phone in a way that put them in danger," said Debby Ballard, Director of Community Affairs for Sprint. "That is why we have once again partnered with DoSomething.org to bring awareness to this issue and help put a stop to texting and driving."
"At Toyota, we are deeply committed to the belief that everyone deserves to be safe," said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of National Philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation at Toyota Motor North America. "That's why we are engaged in programs and research that help ensure that drivers and passengers are safe at every stage of life, and we are proud to partner with DoSomething.org on such a creative and effective approach to address the very real dangers of texting and driving."
Visit www.dosomething.org/thumbwars to learn more about the campaign and view photos of DoSomething.org's awesome members rocking their thumb socks.
We love teens. They are creative, active, wired…and frustrated that our world is so messed up. DoSomething.org harnesses that awesome energy and unleashes it on causes teens care about. Almost every week, we launch a new national campaign. The call to action is always something that has a real impact and doesn't require money, an adult, or a car. With a goal of 5 million active members by 2015, DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the US for teens and social change. Join us at www.DoSomething.org.
About Sprint Nextel:
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers and most improved in customer satisfaction across all industries during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation's greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants and has a network of nearly 1,500 dealerships. Toyota directly employs over 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half-a-billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit www.toyota.com/community and www.toyotateendriver.com.