Can The Auto Industry Help Drive The Anti-Texting-While-Driving Message?

Fordsync-b1Last week in Essentials we cited a piece from Wired on the issues surrounding texting while driving as discussed at a Senate hearing last Wednesday by senators, the Department of Transportations and the FCC. From the article:

At issue is the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009 (.pdf) that Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) introduced Wednesday that seeks to ban texting while driving, a category that includes using a PDA, checking e-mail on a BlackBerry or manipulating a GPS unit with your hand. The bill (S. 1938) also targets drivers who make calls without using a headset. Texting or calling while pulled over on the side of the road is fine, but not while at a red light.

It got me to thinking about the difficult position of the auto industry in all of this with the increasing pressure to combat Gen Y’s cooled attitude towards cars by staying technologically relevant. Young drivers, after all, are a fair market to target with all different types of technological add-ons, whether it be safety or information related like Ford’s recent Sync platform designed by college students or the more entertainment-driven approach of the Nissan Cube which was described by a member of the marketing team as another one of the young owner’s “essential mobile devices”  to be used for “connecting with friends, sharing music and sharing fun.”

It’s a tough line for these carmakers to walk between maintaining a hip, tech-friendly youthful image and enabling risky on-the-road behaviors like texting, using a GPS system and/or fiddling with an iPod. And even though more opportunities to plug in on the road may compound the issue, the root of the problem still remains in the cultural norm we’ve created and condoned as a society, less than with the automakers and cell…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Master of None represents my generation because it takes the little things (going to a taco place) and expands on how the choices are debilitating.”—Female, 33, MN

We know how many Millennials planned to watch last night’s debates, but how many knew they could watch in virtual reality? VR social network AltspaceVR has created an experience that allows participants to watch live debates virtually, in a VR re-creation of NBC News Democracy Plaza at New York’s Rockefeller Center. At the launch party, attendees, including Al Roker, were represented as avatars and instead of applause, emojis were used to express reactions. AltspaceVR has been working to build a virtual community over the past year and hopes to bring people together during “a bitterly divided campaign” with the new experience. (The Verge

The latest smart toys are getting kids away from screens. Global sales of smart toys are expected to increase from $2.8 billion in 2015 to $11.3 billion by 2020, and according to one expert, synching a toy to a phone or tablet will soon be as common as putting in batteries. To appease parents concerned with screen time, these toys are increasingly about physically interacting with the toy itself, putting apps in the background. One example of the trend is Smarty: an internet-connected personal assistant for kids that answers questions, reminds them to do their homework, streams music and books, and more. (The Guardian

What’s holding back the Millennials from creating more startups? Money. A new study found that 72% of 18-34-year-olds see entrepreneurship as being "essential for new innovation and jobs in our economy," and almost eight in ten see working for a startup “a signal of success”—but only 22% say they would start one of their own. Lack of capital is holding four in ten back from taking the risk—for women and minorities that number is even higher. (Business Insider

Toy brands are constantly competing for kids’ attention, and now that industry drama is coming to the small screen. Amazon is introducing Toy Wars, a drama series based on the rivalry between toy giants Hasbro and Mattel. The show is based on the non-fiction book Toy Wars: The Epic Struggle Between G.I. Joe, Barbie, and the Companies that Make Them, which follows a “free spirit” Hasbro executive who was forced to take over the company when his “marketing genius” brother passed away from AIDS. The series will be co-written by Book Of Mormon star Josh Gad and The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, whose father helped turned Hasbro into a top toy company. (Deadline

Communal housing is a growing Millennial trend, but it also dates back to the Middle Ages. Co-housing groups have been catching on as young people and families look to share household responsibilities, cut costs, and have a deeper sense of community with others. While it might seem strange in modern times, the instinct is ancient: According to A World of Their Own Making: Myth, Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values, medieval Europe homes were “essentially gathering places for small groups of revolving residents,” where people lived with friends and extended communities. (The Atlantic

Quote of the Day: “Adventure Time is the show that best represents my generation because we like the nostalgic aspect of watching cartoons but we also like off-the-wall plots.” –Male, 21, MI 

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