Motorola is using June's designation as Safe Driving Month to launch an awareness campaign about hands-free communications while driving. The cornerstone of the "Get Smarter" campaign is a new Bluetooth headset that uses the company's new "Motospeak" technology, which reads the text messages to consumers in real-time, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road.
"We know consumers want to follow the law, but they want to multitask at the same time," Colleen Pham, category marketing manager for mobile devices, tells Marketing Daily.
Available in app form for Android and RIM phones, the Motospeak can translate more than 150 common text abbreviations from LOL to POS (parent over shoulder). (Abbreviations containing expletives such as "WTF" remain as acronyms.)
Headset users can also create an automated response informing senders that the recipient is unavailable and will respond after reaching the destination. The Motospeak does not currently offer technology to translate a voice response into a text back to the sender, Pham says.
To show off this new technology and application, Motorola has launched an experiential marketing program in four cities that have hands-free driving legislation: New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco. The effort involves two Motorola-branded Smart cars offering rides and Motorola products. Prizes will be awarded to people who answer questions regarding hands-free communication via Motorola's Twitter feed and Facebook page.
A digital ad campaign touting the Get Smarter program allows consumers to experience the Motospeak by typing a phrase into a banner ad, and having it translated into the Motospeak's voice.
In addition, Motorola has also launched an app for Android phones -- and a Web site accessible to everyone else -- that helps consumers learn about local hands-free laws. The application breaks down by state laws regarding hands-free cell phone requirements, texting-and-driving laws and laws concerning novice drivers, who are generally the biggest texters and cell phone users. Pham says the application is the first to compile all of that data in one place.
On the Web site, selling Motorola products is de-emphasized. The overall effort, Pham says, is one of consumer education to reduce the number of people using their mobile devices while driving. "It's not a sales tool," she says. "This is Motorola saying, 'We're a leader and this is information you need to know.'"