AUBURN HILLS, Mich.
Volkswagen of America, Inc., and Scholastic are asking you to get involved and possibly save lives in the process. Tonight, Volkswagen kicks off voting for Fasten Your Seat Belt. Go Far!, a nationwide program that challenges teens to create TV ads that try to persuade their peers to buckle up.
Three finalists, chosen from more than 500 high school entries, will see their commercials broadcast tonight nationally at 6 p.m. EST on Fuse TVs Daily Download. Viewers can then log on to www.fuse.tv or www.vw.com to cast their votes for the most productive spot. Voting ends November 25, with the winner announced on Fuse-TV on Monday, November 28.
As part of a joint educational effort between Volkswagen and Scholastic, students across the nation were challenged to create and produce 30-second television ads, to raise awareness and increase seat belt use among teens. Tragically teens are the least likely to use safety belts, even when faced with possible traffic fines. Nearly 5,500 young people die in car crashes every year (according to NHTSA), many needlessly, since they could have been saved by just buckling up.
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This year’s finalists are Jessica Reynolds from Carson Valley Middle School in Gardnerville, Nev., Kimberly Pang, Clements High School, Sugar Land, Texas, and Daniel Zhao, Glen A. Wilson High School, Hacienda Heights, Calif. ” As almost every parent of a teenager knows, you can’t always force teens to do what’s best,” said Steve Keyes, director of corporate communications, Volkswagen of America, Inc. ” Positive peer pressure is the biggest influence with this group, which is why we thought teens should convince their peers to buckle up and get with the trend.”
Volkswagen and Scholastic worked together for the third consecutive year to produce and distribute curriculum kit’s to some 14,000 teachers in 20 major U.S. cities. The kit’s provided teachers with the teaching tools needed to create communication lessons for their students who were then asked to enter a contest by creating a TV ad that promoted the use of safety belts among teenagers. The goal is to unleash the power of positive peer pressure, a proven persuader, to convince teens to buckle up.
This national program is concluding its third year and has received numerous awards, including this year’s Cause Marketing Halo Award for education campaigns.
The power of peer pressure with teens was underscored by the findings of a recent informal survey of high school students participating in the seat belt safety curriculum, conducted by Volkswagen. Not surprisingly, ” uncool” was listed as the primary reason teens don’t always buckle up.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that safety belts save over 11,000 lives a year. Through Fasten Your Seat Belt…Go Far!, Volkswagen hopes to continue this trend upward with teens “ one of the toughest demographics to move to action, especially with regards to safety. ” When you’re so young, you believe you’re invincible,” Keyes said.
The commitment from Volkswagen to high schools is a fitting initiative. In a 2002 survey of 3,300 teens conducted by CNW Marketing, Volkswagen was rated as having the best youth image among all automakers.
” Volkswagen is a very popular brand with teenagers, and we wanted to use this unique connection to help create social awareness and, ultimately, help save lives,” added Keyes.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) recently released new data showing 2003 as having the lowest fatality rate in 30 years. U.S. DOT Secretary Mineta pointed to efforts by NHTSA and other organizations, such as Volkswagen and Scholastic, that encourage safety belt use. Still, there is much to be done: 56 percent of those killed in auto crashes are not wearing safety belts. Even more alarming is that car crashes are the number one killer of teenagers in this country “ and two-thirds of those are not wearing seat belts at the time of the collision.(according to DOT)
The trio of student finalists will each receive a digital video camera. The finalist selected as the grand prizewinner will be awarded a $10,000 savings bond; the second- and third-place winners receive $3,000 and $1,500 savings bonds, respectively. Teachers of the three finalists will be given a $3,000 Apple G5 computer with flat screen monitor and Final Cut Pro Express software for classroom use and a $100 Scholastic gift certificate.
Scholastic Corporation (NMS: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, textbooks, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, videos, and toys. The company distributes its goods and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the company’s Web site, www.scholastic.com.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc., headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europes largest automaker. Volkswagen of America and its affiliates employ approximately 3,000 people in the United States and are responsible for the sale and service of Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Volkswagen products through retail networks comprising approximately 800 independent U.S. dealers.
Fuse-TV is the nation’s only all-music, viewer-influenced television network. Fuse is committed to keeping the focus on music in all programming on television, on the Internet and mobile technology, while encouraging freedom of artistic expression and audience interaction.