#X Marks the Spot for AT&T Campaign Against Texting While Driving

Image: virtualdriveoftexas

AT&T’s efforts to combat texting while driving are picking up speed. The telecom king is now encouraging people to send  #X as a text message to let friends and family know that they are getting behind the wheel and won’t be texting while driving.

It’s the latest wrinkle in AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, whose goal is to discourage people from texting while driving.  Sending messages while driving has been linked to thousands of traffic accidents each year, many of them fatal.

Anyone who has been in a car has witnessed the syndrome: People who are driving, but are distracted by sending or receiving text messages that apparently can’t wait.

This is the kind of campaign in which over-communicating can’t hurt, particularly to younger crowds that text incessantly.

On behalf of the campaign AT&T has won the support of more than 1,500 organizations and recruited celebrities, including Tim McGraw, to spread the word via social media.

The program has so far gotten more than 5 million pledges not to text while driving, while the #X campaign should help to boost the number of pledges.

AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign demonstrates that for brands that want to be associated with safety and sound thinking a one-shot deal won’t suffice.

Serious PR campaigns need to be refreshed every now and again, lest people lose interest and the message falls off the public's radar.

Brands must be vigilant in finding new (and shareable) ways to say the same thing and hammer home the message.  AT&T’s #X campaign has a refreshing ring.

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1