Toyota TeenDrive365 Looks At Parental Units

Toyota is running two digital series with a teen safety message as part of its “TeenDrive365” safe driving campaign that launched in November for the decade-old program. "Tested," the first of the series, hosted by John Henson (“E! Talk Soup” and “Wipeout”), launches on Friday on the “Teen Drive365” hub and YouTube. The second, "Swapping Seats," is hosted by Calise Hawkins, a stand-up comedian who has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” “Comedy Central,” and “Russell Simmons Presents Live at the El Rey.”

Comprising 12 pieces of content created in-house by Defy Media, (a merger of Alloy Digital and Break Media) with 360i as media agency, the effort uses real families to make a point about how the relationship influences the way kids learn to drive. Besides video assets, the campaign comprises advice and tools, as well as distracted driving events around the country. The automaker will seed content across sites on Defy Media's network that fit the demo. 



The six-episode "Tested" series shows common driver distractions that Henson humorously comments on, with the lesson that teens pay attention to and learn from their parents’ actions. The six humorous episodes have people eating while driving; driving while distracted by social media; a driving scavenger hunt; driving while putting on makeup; singing while driving, a video with fully decked-out backup singers in the passenger seats; and driving with a funny friend who cracks distracting jokes. 

The "Swapping Seats" series is meant as a social experiment articulating the difference between perception and reality of parental driving habits. The series asks kids to take their parent’s place in the driver’s seat and secretly imitate their driving habits -- all with mom (or dad) in the backseat. “Tested” will launch on Jan. 24, followed by "Swapping Seats."

"Custom content and video were always part of the [TeenDrive365] campaign; the idea is to jump-start conversations between parents and teens in real life," says Marjorie Schussel, corporate marketing director at Toyota Motor North America, which is based in New York. She tells Marketing Daily that the company extends the campaign to experiential with an auto show installation comprising a driving-simulator affixed to a real car where people can get practical, if virtual, experience learning from mistakes without crashing. Toyota exhibits it at most auto shows around the country, per Schussel. "Since November alone we have had over 5,000 people participate in it; over 75% said they were 'very likely' or 'likely' to eliminate driving distractions after the simulation experience."

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