The 'Thumb Wars' Are Back On

Olivia-Munn-AOn the heels of an industry-wide effort to curb texting and driving this summer, Sprint has teamed up with to reach teens in an effort to ensure the message gets through to those most inclined to engage in the dangerous behavior. 

For the second year, Sprint (along with Toyota) is working with the grassroots organization on the third year of its “Thumb War” campaign, which encourages teens to give “thumb socks” to people who may be (or are) texting and driving. By signing up at (and mentioning who they’re going to give the socks to), teens can get two pairs of yellow anti-texting thumb socks (which, while serving as a reminder, also prevent people from using touch-enabled screens). 



The teens are then instructed to find a clever way of getting the socks to the intended target (such as in a glove box or on a cat), take a photo of their creativity, and share it on Instagram with a “thumbsocks” hashtag to build social awareness throughout the summer. Although admittedly a bit silly, 230,000 teens engaged in last year’s Thumb Wars campaign, and 62% of teens who gave out the thumb socks reported changed behavior among their targets, according to David DeLuca,’s director of campaigns.

“We know that teens are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, influencers of teens. And by creating a fun, positive experience that teens are experiencing the issues, the more responsive they are,” DeLuca tells Marketing Daily. “They’re actually engaged with someone they love about an important issue. It’s really about creating an experience.”

To reach teens, the organization has enlisted actress Olivia Munn to film a comical PSA highlighting the Thumb Wars. The video shows Munn unable to complete everyday tasks (such as pouring milk on cereal) because of too much texting. She also drops a steering wheel (that’s attached to nothing) to pay attention to a text before getting a pair of thumb socks.

The organization is also appearing on scholarship sites (as part of the campaign, DoSomething,org is awarding four $5,000 scholarships to some participants) and is relying on the two sponsoring companies to help get the word out, DeLuca says. 

"As a longstanding advocate of keeping wireless consumers focused on driving, Sprint is proud to continue working with on this unique safe driving campaign," said Debby Ballard, Director of Community Affairs for Sprint, in a statement. "Thumb Wars helps us reach the teen wireless audience in a fun and effective way.”

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