financial services

American Family Insurance Reaches For Teens

MTV and American Family Insurance/The Road to the Woodies

American Family Insurance is partnering with MTV and Mindshare Entertainment to reach teenagers about safe driving habits.

The integrated marketing effort includes five episodes of "The Road to the Woodies," in which a teenage driver navigates closed-course obstacles and typical teen distractions to improve her driving skills using Madison, Wis.-based American Family Insurance's proprietary Teen Safe Driver program.

The promotion kicks off with the launch of a co-branded microsite at, where participants can enter a sweepstakes to win a trip to attend the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards. Site visitors also can virtually "sign" a safe-driving pledge, test their safe-driving knowledge, learn more safe-driving tips from American Family, and watch each of the "The Road to the Woodies" episodes.



The campaign is being promoted via online and on-air at MTV, according to Telisa Yancy, advertising director at American Family Insurance. This includes promotional TV spots and VJ spots on MTV, as well as co-branded banners and editorial throughout

"We've focused most of our communications outreach on the parents of beginning drivers, which makes sense because the parents are our customers," Yancy told Marketing Daily. "While we feel Teen Safe Driver is the best program available, some parents simply cannot overcome the reluctance of their young drivers to give the program a try.

"That's where MTV comes in, with its strong appeal to teenagers in the beginning-driver years. If we can open their eyes to the possibilities of Teen Safe Driver, that makes the parents' job all that much easier and helps American Family reach many more teens who can benefit from the program." "The Road to the Woodies" features a teen named Lauren completing four driving challenges on a closed course to prove to her family that she is a safe and responsible driver. If successful, she wins tickets to the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards in New York.

The challenges will air in four two-minute segments premiering Oct. 28 during MTV's "The Ruins." The short-form series will culminate with the fifth segment airing during the Woodies on Dec. 4 on MTV.

As she navigates the course, Lauren is tested by surprise calls and texts from her family and friends. She also receives highway driving tips from experts like 2006 Indy Pro champion, Jay Howard. Lauren's parents will view her driving "report card"' through Teen Safe Driver's unique in-vehicle video and audio unit that captures risky driving behaviors and provides expert analysis and coaching tips.

The company launched a related marketing campaign Aug. 10 themed "The Family You Choose." A 30-second TV spot shows a car full of teens hoisted safely aloft by caring friends and family, symbolizing the company's commitment to work with parents to keep teen drivers safe. The campaign also includes print, radio and digital efforts. It is scheduled to run though Oct. 24, which includes National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 18-24.

Teen Safe Driver, offered through American Family Insurance, combines technology, expert advice and parental involvement to help young drivers overcome learning-to-drive challenges. American Family, in association with DriveCam Inc., provides the year-long Teen Safe Driver at no cost to American Family auto insurance customers who have a beginning teen driver in their household. The program is now available in all 19 of American family's operating states.

More than 6,000 families have participated in the program, with teens averaging a 70% decrease in high-risk driving events, according to the company. Research has shown direct involvement from parents vastly improves teens' driving habits.

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