Leveraging PR to Drive Behavior Change

Changing behavior isn’t easy. We’ve all tried it in one form or another – often with varying success. But eventually, we have that “ah-ha” moment that makes change possible.

In our ongoing work with AT&T, Quinn Thomas has helped spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving and responsible use of mobile devices. The message behind the company’s It Can Wait campaign is a simple one: Keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone.

Armed with an amazing asset, AT&T’s It Can Wait Virtual Reality Simulator, our team has literally hit the road attacking the issue with a diverse blend of earned media tactics. Through a mix of made for media events, leveraging public facing events for media coverage and engaging community leaders, we put this important message in front of thousands of Oregonians.

The goal of this ongoing effort is to use national research provided by the AT&T It Can Wait campaign to develop local strategies that resonate with Oregonians. We used experiential marketing events, media relations and community relations techniques to build partnerships and deepen community interest, awareness and engagement to address distracted driving.

Our efforts to date have generated nearly 50 earned media hits across the state – including taking the It Can Wait Virtual Reality Simulator in studio with a half dozen local television stations — using on-air talent as part of the virtual reality experience to drive coverage on distracted driving.

We’ve also helped AT&T develop a strong partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation to spearhead efforts around distracted driving. In fact, earlier this month, representatives from AT&T and the It Can Wait Virtual Reality Simulator joined ODOT to raise awareness about recent updates to Oregon’s distracted driving law and tough new penalties for anyone caught using their phone while behind the wheel.

Changing behavior is never easy but think about the consequences. If you haven’t seen AT&T’s “unseen” uncommercial, take 30 seconds and give it a watch. It will make you think twice about picking up your phone while you’re behind the wheel.