Boost America! Raising Kids with Safety in Mind
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Boost America! Raising Kids with Safety in Mind

Ford Motor Company’s Boost America! campaign is a multi-faceted, national campaign that strives to educate parents, caregivers, teachers and children about the proper use and need for booster seats.

Paul Holmes

Ford Motor Company’s Boost America! campaign is a multi-faceted, national campaign that strives to educate parents, caregivers, teachers and children about the proper use and need for booster seats.  The campaign was announced at a national news conference and major components include: a national phone survey in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, educational materials sent to every elementary school and daycare center in the country, a one million booster seat giveaway nationwide with news conferences and giveaway events in every state, child seat fitting events at dealerships for parents and caregivers to learn how to properly install child safety and booster seats, and a push for booster seat legislation across the country. Boost America! also has a web site: www.boostamerica.org and operates a toll free hotline: 1-866-BOOST-KID.

Challenge:

We found that while many parents are aware of the need for infants in cars to ride in safety seats, far fewer know that booster seats are needed for children too big for “baby seats” yet still too small for adult-sized safety belts. Ford Motor Company saw this gap in education of booster seat use for older children and stepped up to the plate to address this national safety concern.

Research:

According to a new state-by-state survey done by Wirthlin Worldwide for Boost America!, only about 21 percent of 20 million children age 4-8, who should be riding in booster seats, are properly doing so (which means 79% of those children are not fully protected when riding in cars). We found that more than 500 children between the ages of 4 and 8 years old are killed each year and thousands seriously injured because they ride either unprotected, or with adult safety belts that do not fit them properly.

Planning Process:

In planning for the Boost America! campaign, [email protected] began building relationships with the main Boost America! partners—United Way of America, International Center for Injury Prevention and Toys “R” Us. [email protected] also enlisted in 23 other third parties such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Association of School Nurses, National Urban League and the American Academy of Pediatrics to give credibility to the Boost America!  program. We planned for a major educational aspect to the program with materials going to every elementary and pre-school in the country and a significant public relations component, with news conferences in every state over a 14 month period.

Statement of Objectives:

The Boost America! objectives are to:
· Increase awareness and use of booster seats among children who have outgrown child seats but are less than 8 years old or 4’9’’ in height.
· Distribute one million booster seats nationwide.
· Distribute education curriculum materials to every elementary school and day care center in the country.
· Administer child seat fittings, partnering with states and dealers to augment and expand state instructional and fitting station programs so parents and other caregivers better understand how to properly install and use all child safety seats.
· Support booster seat legislation in every state.

Strategic Approach:

The campaign was announced at a national news conference and it’s strategy includes the following major components: a national phone survey in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, educational materials sent to every elementary school and daycare center in the country, a one million booster seat giveaway nationwide with news conferences and giveaway events in every state, child seat fitting events at dealerships for parents and caregivers to learn how to properly install child safety and booster seats, and a push for booster seat legislation across the country. Boost America! also has a web site: www.boostamerica.org and operates a toll free hotline: 1-866-BOOST-KID.

To give voice to the booster seat concern, [email protected] developed the Boost America!: Raising Kids with Safety in Mind campaign for Ford Motor Company, which aims to educate parents, caregivers, teachers and children about the importance of booster seats for children between 40 and 80 pounds. [email protected] began with this campaign from scratch and developed a campaign name and worked with an ad firm to design the logo and tag line.

Execution:

Ford Motor Company, along with 25 national partners including the United Way of America, the International Center for Injury Prevention, Toys “R” Us, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and various safety and parenting groups, is committed to promoting booster seat use for children who have outgrown their traditional car seat but are still too small for adult seat belts to fit properly.

Boost America! delivered its message to every preschool and elementary school in the United States by sending educational materials to over 152,000 schools with a video featuring Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith for the elementary school children and materials including stickers, growth charts, brochures, posters and more with Blue from Nickelodeon’s Blues Clues for the preschoolers.

Boost America!  is increasing booster seat usage through the distribution of one million booster seats, half through the United Way to income-eligible families and half through vouchers distributed by participating Ford Motor Company dealers and redeemable at Toys “R” Us stores. As part of the United Way giveaway, Boost America! is hosting media and giveaway events in all 50 states to raise awareness of the need for the proper use of booster seats. The United Way, partnering with the International Center for Injury Prevention (ICIP), a nonprofit organization specializing in child passenger safety, will distribute booster seats to pre-selected families at “fitting station” events in each state following the media event.

Boost America! is partnering with states and Ford dealers to augment and expand state instructional and fitting station programs so parents and caregivers better understand how to install and use all child safety seats. Boost America! is increasing the number of trained child seat instructors and technicians and is increasing parental awareness of available local fitting opportunities.

This education campaign also strives to support state laws that require children less than eight years old and 4’9” in height to be properly secured in child safety and booster seats.

Summary of results:

The official launch event of the Boost America! campaign in April 2001 generated overwhelming, positive coverage for the program in all media formats – print, television, radio and Internet – positioning Ford Motor Company as a corporate leader committed to further improving child safety in the automotive arena. Overall, Boost America! media coverage generated nearly 125 million impressions nationwide

Television coverage included ABC’s Good Morning America, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS’ Early Show, NBC’s Today Show, CNN Cable News Network and CNN Headline News (31 stories), FOX News Channel (5 stories), MSNBC (3 stories) and many others in the top television markets. The story was also picked up by all leading wire services and print highlights include Associated Press, Automotive News, Bloomberg, Boston Herald, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Reuters, Washington Post and USA Today. [email protected] also secured 79 radio interviews in advance of the event.

In its first official six months of a 14-month campaign, Boost America! has already distributed over 500,000 booster seats across 20 states and generated substantial media coverage including the major television networks, largest circulation newspapers and radio stations for every state news conference.

Boost America! has also been successful with its push for booster seat legislation. Prior to the Boost America! campaign, only two states had booster seat laws.  In the months since its launch, Boost America! has been heavily covered in the media and lawmakers have taken note. Today, seven states now carry booster seat laws: Washington, California, Arkansas, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Oregon and New Jersey.

 

View Style:

Load 3 More
comments powered by Disqus