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June 12, 2014

AT&T’s It Can Wait® Program Wins PRSA’s Best of Silver Anvil Award

NEW YORK, June 12, 2014 – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) presented its prestigious Best of Silver Anvil Award to AT&T and FleishmanHillard for their multi-year public service program It Can Wait, an initiative to eliminate texting while driving.
The campaign was selected as the best from among the 156 public relations campaigns designated as finalists for the esteemed Silver Anvil Award, given for outstanding achievement in public relations. The announcement was made this evening during the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony at the AXA Equitable Center in New York.
It Can Wait started off as an AT&T texting-while-driving awareness campaign but quickly evolved into a social movement,” said James J. Roop, APR, Fellow PRSA, chair of PRSA’s Honors and Awards Committee. “This campaign clearly demonstrates the positive effect public relations can have in our communities and across the world. I congratulate AT&T and FleishmanHillard for a truly groundbreaking campaign, flawless execution and impressive results.”
According to AT&T’s winning entry, the organization’s national online survey of 1,200 15 to 19 year-olds found that 75 percent of the respondents said texting while driving is “common” among their friends. However, the problem doesn’t only exist with teenagers. Nearly half of adult commuters admitted to texting while driving, though 98 percent acknowledge that sending a text or email while driving is not safe.
The It Can Wait program began in 2010, and for the first two years AT&T focused on awareness of the issue. In 2012, It Can Wait turned into an action program, as AT&T reached out to schools and communities encouraging people to take a pledge to never text and drive. It wasn’t until 2013 that theprogram shifted its strategic direction to advocacy. More than 1,500 organizations and nearly 100 celebrities signed on to make a bigger impact by urging their constituents and fans to put down their phones while driving and, subsequently, the program turned into a social movement.

Along with expanding the program to reach adults, obtaining third party support and the extension of the personal pledges to not text and drive, AT&T executed several tactics throughout the year to support the campaigns goals, including:
  • The creation of a compelling documentary with filmmaker Werner Herzog, featuring texting-while-driving stories;
  • A social media campaign, including daily social activations for the 100 days in between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the deadliest time for teen car crashes; and
  • A 400-plus stop national tour of texting-while-driving simulators to “bring to life” texting’s impact on driving.
The It Can Wait program is directly responsible for approximately a 25 percent increase in awareness on the dangers of texting while driving and has now garnered nearly 5 million no texting-while-driving pledges to date. More importantly, a preliminary analysis of It Can Wait activities and accident reports in Florida, Illinois and Texas suggests there may be a positive statistical correlation with a projected reduction in crashes.

About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than320 colleges and universities.

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