The scourge of mobile phones: sexting mobile bullying and driving while texting, particularly among teens.
“LG did some research into teen misuse, and a lot of the topics we discussed came out of this research,” says Heather L. Eichele, senior vice president and group account director at Alcone Marketing Group. “They did their homework to know what teens were doing, texting at all hours and not getting enough sleep. The later they stayed up, that’s when most of the cyber-bullying was happening.”
LG took this on as a social cause because mobile misuse was running rampant among teens. Other manufacturers were addressing the issue, but were using a scare tactic approach. LG wanted to target parents. The company’s focus groups and surveys uncovered that, to create a conversation between teens and parents, LG needed to come across not as preachy, Eichele says.
LG sought a credible spokesperson who had both parent and teen appeal and who could drive the story while positioning LG as a leader in educating parents about texting issues. Jane Lynch, comedian and star of “Glee,” who is herself a mom, seemed the perfect fit.
Lynch recorded a series of online videos that mimicked a school sex-ed class, calling it “LG Text Ed,” which harnessed Jane’s in-your face humor, and her appeal to both age groups.
To create a disruptive, viral tone for the program, an elaborate backstory was generated, complete with a police mug shot of Lynch being arrested for text raging and texting while driving. After a stint in LG Text Rehab, she was required to do community service, and her story went from text offender to text educator. Lynch’s job: teaching a room full of clueless parents about teen mobile phone misuse and how they could help.
The program, which ran from August to December 2010, included five text-ed classes starring Lynch and appeared on LGTextEd.com, Facebook and YouTube. Each class educated parents about different forms of mobile phone misuse, and ended with a link to more information from the LG Text Ed Advisory Council and other helpful information.
Lynch’s role as LG’s Text Educator and the “leaked” mug shot were featured on “Entertainment Tonight” and “Access Hollywood.” She also appeared on “The Insider,” “The View,” “Access Hollywood Live” and “Fox & Friends,” while the story was picked up by national news outlets, including USA Today, Los Angeles Times and People.com.
The Facebook site offered several ways to engage with Lynch, including widgets, apps, videos, downloadable diplomas and more. Her arrest video was leaked on the Facebook page, while, in six funny video rants, she challenged parents to write on her Facebook wall.
PR value generated was just under $12 million, exceeding the goal by 47%. The text-ed page garnered more than 18,000 Facebook Likes. “We believe the use of a relevant modern day mom-type spokesperson, as well as using humor in a non-threatening way and not going down a serious path, is what drove the program’s success,” says Eichele.