When a teenager hits the road for the first time, he or she enters what the National Safety Council has deemed one of the most dangerous years of a person’s life– one that has become exponentially more perilous as cell phones have been added to the mix of inexperience behind the wheel. Car accidents caused by distracted driving are the leading cause of death among American teenagers.
To address this growing problem, Toyota and Discovery Education partnered to create TeenDrive365, a comprehensive engagement program anchored by an online information hub that provides safe-driving tools and resources to students and teachers. This approach to safety education is grounded in the belief that bringing teens and educators together with creative contests and resources is the key to changing teens’ behaviors.
A major component of this program is the TeenDrive365 Video Challenge, which aims to help students inspire each other to drive safely and to motivate them to become proactive in curbing the deadly problem of distracted driving. The challenge encourages students in grades 9-12 to create original videos describing what they can do in their communities to help make their peers and themselves safer drivers, and then upload their videos to YouTube. By using video, teenagers create a compelling public service announcement to engage their peers and begin a discussion about the importance of safe driving. Toyota and Discovery Education know that when it comes to issues like safe driving, teens can be one of the biggest influences on their peers. This contest allows teens to talk to their peers about the very serious topic of distracted driving in their own way – using creativity, talent and video skills.
The campaign began with a national press release publicizing the launch of the competition. Discovery Education leveraged its partnerships with school districts nationwide through promotion to the expansive Discovery Education educator community through a variety of digital newsletters and emails. The challenge was also promoted on DiscoveryEducation.com with featured promotion on the homepage and targeted carousels for teacher, parent and student pages. Discovery Education executed a targeted media campaign on Facebook and Google, using a call-for-entries spot that garnered 28M impressions.
The public vote was supported by a grassroots social media and marketing campaign carried out by participants, their families, friends and schools who were looking to earn votes during the public voting period. Finalists used various social media platforms to gain votes for their videos, and some even went door to door in their communities to create awareness. Discovery Education and Toyota leveraged numerous assets, including data that Toyota has collected over the past several years on distracted driving as well as content submitted by the finalists to build a successful PR and marketing strategy.
Customized press releases were distributed to each of the 10 finalists’ local media outlets, and finalists’ stories were covered in many local newspapers, online news sites, radio and TV stations. Discovery Education’s public relations team worked closely with each of the finalists’ school district communications team to get out the word to the local media and other community stakeholders. Discovery Communications’ government relations team shared the news with local government officials in the finalists’ hometowns, as well. A national push also went out to education reporters to promote coverage of the open voting period, and multiple top education trades covered the news.
To announce winners, Discovery Education distributed a national press release over a wire service, as well as to education trades and top consumer media. To amplify the announcement, Discovery Education organized a surprise event at the students’ school outside in Charlotte, NC.
Over the past nine years, the TeenDrive365 program has directly reached thousands of students across the United States. The 2018 TeenDrive365 Video Challenge saw registrants from all 50 states. Additional success can be seen in: