With seemingly not a day passing by without another study warning consumers about the dangers of texting and driving, Verizon Wireless is taking it upon itself to be sure that people get the message.
The company is rolling out a new paid advertising campaign with a simple message: "Please don't text and drive." The headline will begin appearing on billboards nationwide starting this week. The simplicity of the message is intended to connect with drivers as they are on the road and either engaged in or considering sending a text, says company representative Jeffrey Nelson.
"We knew that with a targeted campaign at drivers, we needed to have a clear message," Nelson tells Marketing Daily. "We're coming out with a very direct message because we are trying to change behavior."
A television execution is just as simple, showing a typical Verizon billboard (touting the company's network and reliability) coming down in favor of one reading: "Please don't text and drive." A voiceover mentions the publicity surrounding the dangers of texting and driving, noting: "we have something to say about that."
"While we're usually all for texting, we're not for anything that endangers your life or the lives of others," says the voiceover. "So we're asking everyone that gets in the driver's seat to keep their hands on the wheel and off their phone. Honestly, no message is that important."
The effort also includes a heavy radio component, aiming to reach drivers in their cars. One radio spot lists the people who would "really like to see you get home safely," such as husbands, wives, children, family friends and others.
The effort springs out of Verizon's longstanding commitment to safe cell phone usage while in the car, Nelson says. Verizon was the first wireless carrier to support required use of hands-free devices while calling from the car, he says. "As texting has become mainstream, we wanted to recommit on that front," he says. "We're putting our money where our mouth is."
The effort will run through the end of the year (including during the holiday season). After that, the company will gauge its effectiveness before deciding to continue or expand, Nelson says.