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Creating a new and innovative approach to a well-known safety issue is difficult. However, State Farm is defining their brand and their new approach to teen driver safety with a new campaign called Celebrate My Drive™.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers, nearly five times more than cancer and poisoning combined. In a recent Miles to Go report from State Farm and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia® (CHOP), it was stated that teens behind the wheel and their peer passengers account for one out of every five deaths for 15- to 19-year-olds in our nation.

For a decade, State Farm and CHOP collaborated on Partners for Child Passenger Safety to help make kids safer in cars. In 2006 they continued to put the research into action – this time around saving teen lives. This long-lasting partnership has led to multiple innovative studies and programs to promote safer driving habits across the U.S. and Canada. In 2007, State Farm and CHOP worked with the U.S. Congress to establish the third week of October as National Teen Driver Safety Week.

While teen driver safety work takes place beyond the insurance and health industries, State Farm is aligning their brand with the cause and adding a new ingredient into the mix of awareness, education and advocacy – positive messaging. The new campaign, Celebrate My Drive (www.celebratemydrive.com), will launch on September 15th. State Farm looked to recent research and framed Celebrate My Drive to change behaviors with gain-based messaging. Instead of scaring teens to change dangerous driving habits, the campaign looks to share the reasons why safer behaviors will benefit teens and parents in the long run.

“We need to break through to teens, and, for some, scare tactics don’t work as well as positive messaging,” said State Farm director of technology research, Chris Mullen. “We’re looking to share the advantages of positive behaviors rather than the negative route that so many, including us, have done before. Through State Farm’s April 2012 Harris Interactive Survey, we learned that telling teens the possible consequences of negative behaviors was shown to be less effective than emphasizing the possible rewards of positive behaviors.”

Celebrate My Drive is trying to move the needle on this public health issue by providing a supportive, positive approach to how our young people are taught to drive.

“Parents are targeted in this campaign as much as their teens are,” says assistant vice president of public affairs at State Farm, Kellie Clapper. “Supportive parental involvement has been shown through our studies to have a greater effect on teen’s driving behaviors than any other factor. According to a 2009 report from State Farm and CHOP, teens who say their parents set rules, monitor and are helpful and supportive are half as likely to be in car crashes as teens who describe their parents as less involved. To help as many teens as possible, we need to look at all the angles of this issue.”

The kick-off on September 15th hopes to bring mass awareness to parents and teens across the U.S and Canada by showing how safe driving behaviors can help them enjoy this defining moment in their lives and get to the next milestone. Obtaining a driver’s license is a huge part of growing up and many teens, as well as their parents, look forward to this day. Events will encourage teens to share their plan to drive safe and embrace their independence and new found skills.

The 13 marquee events are taking place in these cities through the U.S. and Canada with hundreds of other local events being organized across the country:

  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Culver City, California
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Buford, Georgia
  • Lombard, Illinois
  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Minnetonka, Minnesota
  • Strongsville, Ohio
  • Ontario, Canada
  • King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
  • Frisco, Texas
  • Tukwila, Washington
  • McLean, Virginia

Follow Brandon on Twitter at http://twitter.com/brandongutman

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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