American Family Insurance, Madison, Wis., is targeting teens with an integrated marketing initiative designed to educate young drivers on the importance of safe driving.

Leveraging National Teen Driver Safety Week, the insurer has partnered with MTV and Mindshare Entertainment to promote a five-episode series called “The Road to the Woodies.” In the series, a teenage driver navigates closed-course obstacles and typical teen distractions to improve her driving skills using American Family Insurance’s proprietary Teen Safe Driver program.

Offered exclusively through American Family, Teen Safe Driver combines technology, expert advice and parental involvement to help young drivers overcome learning-to-drive challenges. In association with DriveCam Inc., a San Diego company that uses sight, sound, expert analysis and driver coaching to help drivers learn safe vehicle operation, American Family provides the year-long Teen Safe Driver program at no cost to American Family auto insurance customers who have a beginning teen driver in their household. The program is now available in all 19 of American family’s operating states and is highly touted by current users. More than 6,000 families have participated in the program since its launch in 2007, with teens averaging a 70% decrease in high-risk driving events. The program also affects seatbelt usage, which, says a company spokesperson, starts out in the range of 35 to 40%, and approaches 100% after just one month in the program. Research shows direct involvement from parents also vastly improves teens’ driving habits, notes the carrier.

The integrated marketing promotion kicks off today with the launch of a co-branded microsite about teen driving: Part of the promotion includes a sweepstakes give-away to attend the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards show. mtvU is MTV Networks' Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 24-hour college network--the largest and most comprehensive media network designed for college students.

“Teens must overcome significant challenges as beginning drivers,” said Lisa Bacus, vice president of marketing for American Family. “The MTV campaign illustrates the challenges real teens face and, with the use of the innovative technology of the Teen Safe Driver Program, shows how direct involvement from parents vastly improves their driving habits.”

The reality-based micro-series features Lauren, a typical teenager, as she completes four driving challenges on a closed course to prove to her family that she is a safe and responsible driver. If successful, she wins tickets to the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards in New York City.

The challenges will air in four two-minute segments premiering Oct. 28 during MTV’s “The Ruins.” As she navigates the course, Lauren is tested by surprise calls and texts from her family and friends while driving, and she also receives highway driving tips from experts like 2006 Indy Pro champion, Jay Howard. All the while, Lauren’s parents will view her driving “report card”’ through Teen Safe Driver’s unique in-vehicle video and audio unit that captures risky driving behaviors and provides expert analysis and coaching tips. The short-form series will culminate with the fifth segment airing during the Woodies on Friday, December 4, on MTV, at 10PM ET/PT.

MTV, along with Mindshare Entertainment, also produced a co-branded sweepstakes for another viewer to attend the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards. Beginning today, participants can enter the sweepstakes at While on the Web site, visitors can virtually “sign” a safe-driving pledge, test their safe-driving knowledge, learn more safe-driving tips from American Family, and watch each of the “The Road to the Woodies” episodes.






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