AT&T is utilizing the It CAN WAIT and virtual reality to teach new drivers about the dangers of… https://t.co/uv42k1WQQX
— Epperly & Follis (@EandF_Law) August 6, 2017
The American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) was founded in 1875, by the inventor of the telephone itself, Alexander Bell Graham, and the two men, Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders, who agreed to finance his work. Three years later the telephone exchanges existed in most major cities and towns in the United States, which operated under licenses from what was now the American Bell Telephone Company. The company maintained a monopoly on telephone service in the United States until anti-trust regulators split the company in 1982. The company expanded and grew throughout the years. On September 20, 1995, AT&T announced that it was restructuring into three different companies. The new AT&T began changing and took action to succeed in the changing media environment. Today the corporation is one of the largest wireless carriers in the United States.
In March 2010, “It Can Wait” campaign was launched by AT&T. Since AT&T is one of the top wireless carriers, it felt obligated to inform their customers about the dangers of distractive driving. The movement promotes safe driving specifically towards young drivers. Studies show that 43 percent of teenagers are accustomed to texting and driving and more than 100,000 distracted drivers have died each year. This lead AT&T to start a campaign for prevention and awareness. To distribute the message AT&T reached out to multiple organizations, celebrities, and audiences via social media. They also created thought-provoking documentaries, where multiple accounts were told in detail how texting and driving impacted their life. AT&T campaign is considered effective due to their message and having 5 million people pledge to the “It Can Wait” campaign.
When the campaign was first launched texting and driving was a big issue in the United States. According to the law firm Edgar Snyder, in 2009 “5,474 people were killed and 448,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents,” and in 2010 “3,267 people were killed and BACKGROUND/COMPANY HISTORY416,000 were injured.” This statistic urged BBDO, AT&T’s ad agency, to start promoting awareness of the issue in 2010 starting with documentaries.
DOCUMENTARIES AND COMMERCIALS/ MEDIA COVERAGE
The Last Text, the documentary, was released and produced by AT&T in 2010. And has reached 200,000 views on Youtube. In the 11 minute video, it features multiple families affected by texting and driving. Near the end, it shows the last text that transformed their lives. The video was used to educate the public about the tragic events that occur after texting and driving accident. It stated persuasive statistics such as “Studies show that you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident when texting and driving.”
A more recent documentary sponsored by AT&T was “From One Second to the Next.” This video has attracted nearly 3 million viewers over the course of a year in 2013. To spread awareness AT&T took the initiative to send the video to 40,000 high schools nationwide. Showing in the schools was an effective technique to get more viewers engaged in the movement. By utilizing an acclaimed director, Werner Herzog, they made the video “more powerful than a typical public service announcement.” The documentary brought skepticism though about the company AT&T and the message they were portraying. But the director Herzog defends the phone company, “This has nothing to do with consumerism or being part of advertising products. This whole campaign is rather dissuading you from excessive use of a product. It’s a campaign. We’re not trying to sell anything to you. We’re trying to raise awareness.”
Since the videos release many 30 second clips were shown on television. These advertisements were all sponsored by AT&T. Other than 30-second clips of the tragic stories, celebrities were included in the movement. Celebrities such as Gabby Douglas, the gold medal Olympian, encouraged people to take the pledge to not text and drive. This was an effective technique to target demographic of young drivers since she is a relevant role model in society. Celebrity endorsements can reach a wider audience effectively.
TACTICS OF SOCIAL MEDIA MOVEMENT
For the first two years of the “It Can Wait” movement, AT&T focused primarily on raising awareness of the dangers of texting and driving. From there, AT&T changed the direction of the movement from awareness to advocacy. And while the TV and video advertisements were a critical part of the campaign, social media is really where it took off. AT&T took to sites like Twitter and Facebook, creating the hashtag #ItCanWait to spread their message and encourage people to take the pledge of not texting and driving, and to then share it with their friends and followers. However, taking the pledge is not so one-dimensional; in addition to having pledgers visit the AT&T site to sign the pledge, the company offers text-to-pledge and tweet-to-pledge, both easier and more accessible options. Since then, AT&T has garnered over 4 million pledges and more than half a million “It Can Wait” tweets, and the numbers increase every day.
In 2013, the “It Can Wait” campaign gathered its focus during the summer, from May 26th to September 3rd– the “100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers”, a time period in which the most teen car-related deaths occur. During those months, the social media campaign intensified as “It Can Wait” delivered messages daily through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest regarding the reasons why text messages teens receive while driving can wait. They also created a phone application, called AT&T DriveMode, in which the app automatically replies to text messages with a customizable message, indicating that the user is driving and will reply when it is safe to do so. Furthermore, AT&T created a driving while texting simulator on their website, aiming to show firsthand the real dangers of texting and driving, and they are touring a state-of-the-art texting while driving chair to high schools and events around the country. It’s purpose: to again, showcase the real-life dangers of texting while driving. All of these tactics put together compiles AT&T’s strategy to approach the challenge of advocating their campaign to teens across the country.
AT&T has made a corporate wide policy installing the “It Can Wait” campaign. The employees utilizing the provider’s phones have to sign a code of conduct. This code of conduct basically states that employees are prohibited from texting and driving. 240,000 employees have signed the contract.
AT&T targeted teen drivers to take the “It Can Wait” pledge. Since they know the demographic they were reaching are younger they utilized social media and the Internet to start their movement. Accidents of distractive driving are generally age groups 18-25 but essentially all age groups are affected.
CURRENT STATUS OF ISSUE
Although AT&T and many other companies have supported and spread the message of the “It Can Wait” campaign, it has not made much of an impact.The number of people that were killed in result of distraction driving decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. Although it hasn’t changed much in the numbers the campaign has raised awareness.
The primary goal of the It Can Wait campaign is to get one lesson across: No text is worth a life. Everything else is mostly concerned with educating people about the dangers of distracted driving. There is a lot to take away from this campaign. While many people acknowledge how dangerous texting and driving can be, I don’t believe they ever fully grasp just how bad it really can be. I also think that people aren’t completely aware of how many people text and drive. A staggering 97% of people say that they think texting and driving is bad, yet 49% of them still admit to doing it. Even more surprisingly, 40% of those people say that it’s a habit (Texting While Driving Facts & Statistics). Also, texting and driving isn’t just limited to teenagers, as most seem to expect. 41% of teens report that they’ve recently seen a parent text and drive, while 53% report a parent texting at a stop light.
COMPARISON TO SIMILAR CASES
Many companies have joined together for the It Can Wait campaign. Despite some of them being rivals, they put aside their differences for this great cause. Most of them approach spreading awareness in the same ways, such as ads and social media. While some companies use more aggressive methods, they’re all helping in some form. Cellphone carriers have been the most active for the campaign, while others simply acknowledge their support for the cause. A few examples of companies, out of the over 1,500 who have joined the cause, are as follows.
Spending tens of millions of dollars
Working with celebrities
Working with device manufacturers to include hands-free modes
Documentaries (Which include first-hand experiences)
Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint:
Creating programs to educate people on the dangers of distracted driving
Create ads for TV and radio
Creating informational flyers
Sending out blimps with the message
Showing support through social media
Company-wide policy: Safe Today, Home Tonight.
We think that AT&T has done a great job for this phenomenal cause. Texting and driving is increasingly becoming more of a problem with our society. Teens are now getting phones at younger ages, which means they get attached to them even earlier. By the time they can drive, their phone is practically a core part of their identity. As a result, they feel more compelled to text while driving. AT&T recognized this and started their campaign to stop it. Personally, we get annoyed when our friend’s text and drive. It’s dangerous to everybody in and around the car. We think that part of the reason people continue to text and drive is that they simply aren’t aware of how truly dangerous it is. In the three states (Florida, Illinois, and Texas), “Studies suggest a positive statistical correlation between social sharing, pledging and downloading an app and a projected reduction in crashes” (AT&T). If this trend continues, perhaps one day we can eliminate this horrific problem.
Wednesday Dakar sat in on the (IoT) Internet Of Things , IFTTT (If This Then That) AT&T Developer Program lab inside of AT&T corporate offices in El Segundo. We received the TI MSP432 LaunchPad and CC3100 SimpleLink Wi-Fi BoosterPack Internet-connected development boards –as well a the workshop features and benefits on a drive, as well as as MX2 account for fu