TitleThe Face of Distracted Driving
BriefA young man talks to camera about how his life might have turned out differently. As we hear his voiceover, we see home video footage of him as a young boy. When the film cuts back to him, it’s revealed that this is what Caleb Sorohan would look like today, if he hadn’t been killed by a distracted driver eight years ago. We then see a newspaper clipping of his death. The agency worked carefully with the victim's family, forensic artists, and visual effects teams to "resurrect" him.
Agency
Campaign The Face Of Distracted Driving
Advertiser AT&T Inc.
Brand AT&T
PostedNovember 2018
Business Sector Culture, Leisure & Sport
Story A young man talks to camera about how his life might have turned out differently. As we hear his voiceover, we see home video footage of him as a young boy. When the film cuts back to him, it’s revealed that this is what Caleb Sorohan would look like today, if he hadn’t been killed by a distracted driver eight years ago. We then see a newspaper clipping of his death. The agency worked carefully with the victim's family, forensic artists, and visual effects teams to "resurrect" him.

For the last eight years, AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign has been dedicated to fighting distracted driving. The problem is that, while more than 95% of people recognize the danger in using their smartphones while driving, over 83% of drivers — teens and adults alike —still do it.
Our goal for 2017 was to close this gap between belief and action. In order to do so, we needed to put our creative work through two filters: first, was it engaging enough to rise above the noise and get our audiences’ attention? And second, was it powerful enough to go beyond just issue awareness, and to create real change in driver behavior?
Strategy
Every week, three different:15s videos—rooted in three different insights revealed in our research — were pushed out against three audience groups: A18–24 (Gen Z), A25–34 (Older Millennials) and A35–49 (Gen X).
Understanding that there is no direct proxy for behavior change when looking at just engagement metrics, we looked to a number of touchpoints in order to make comprehensive decisions on what defined success. Data was gathered in partnership with third-party research group MetrixLab, Facebook’s beta internal research tool Creative Compass and standard front-end data available from our DSP on a weekly basis. When and where possible, we also looked to understand sentiment by looking at the comments left on our videos to better contextualize performance.
The performance mapping from MetrixLab took a look at Memory metrics (aided brand recall, message recall, message playback, ad recognition), Effect (interest, purchase and clicking intent, virability) and Reaction (likeability, differentiation, credibility, relevance, understanding and brand fit). Creative Compass provided another read on some of the same measures, and where possible we were sure to ask: “Does this message make you less likely to drive distracted?”
The Face of Distracted Driving was the top-performing asset when looking across all data sets and audiences.
Relevancy
The 2017 It Can Wait campaign — that culminated in the The Face of Distracted Driving video work — epitomizes how smart, thoughtful application of data can lead to creative work that drives emotional response and delivers on communications objectives in a purposeful way.
Drawing on over eight years of accumulated campaign feedback, we knew the communications challenge we faced in 2017: people believe that distracted driving is wrong, but they still do it. The creative use of data was the only way to attack this difficult behavioral problem in order to save lives.
Outcome
The campaign garnered over 73 million media impressions and over 13 million views in less than a week. We effectively doubled the average engagement rate of all past AT&T brand advertising.
But most importantly, we shifted the way drivers behave behind the wheel. Sixty percent of viewers said the campaign would change their behavior, and we helped the It Can Wait program surpass 20 million pledges to never drive distracted.
In the end, we proved that data can not only fuel the creative process, it can also save lives.
Media Strategy
Performance data was shared on a weekly cadence to allow us to understand three key questions
1. Does one insight territory/creative messaging pillar perform better than others?
2. Are there audience-specific nuances that inform what succeeds in-market?
3. What can we deduce about the tone of work to help inform future executions?
Our learnings were rolled into creative development and helped inform optimizations in storytelling and media. And while Facebook was our core social data partner, the videos were also distributed across other social platforms and media partners to understand how — and if — the environment in which the creative played had an impact on resonance, awareness levels and behavioral intent shifts.
We recognized that the executions most likely to shift behavior were those which humanized the lives of victims and their stories. The Face of Distracted Driving rose to the top, and in light of our data findings and the work’s profoundly moving human story, we knew that this execution had the potential to truly change the way drivers act behind the wheel.
Campaign Description
While distracted driving is often thought of as a youth problem, data from the campaign showed that the behavior actually crosses driver demographics. As such, we needed to understand what messaging worked best in shifting behavior across a range of generations.
Our creative teams first synced up with a behavioral scientist who helped us find a range of communication options that could actually change driving behavior, rather than just generating buzz around the issue.
We worked with Facebook to develop an agile social marketing model that combined weekly testing on the front end with back-end panel measurement, allowing us to monitor engagement and behavioral intent shifts simultaneously. AT&T was the first advertiser to implement this model for an awareness-level engagement campaign.
We knew both forms of measurement would be crucial to our success: the work would not be effective unless it was engaging enough to capture audience attention, but it also had to strike deeper than mere engagement, creating real change in audience behavior.
To limit the number of variables in the test, we honed in on platform best practices in social and focused on video as our main creative format.
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