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Raising Awareness With Thumb Socks

Dosomething.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to causes that affect young people across the nation. Among these issues is texting and driving: a fatal habit that led to 1.3 million crashes in 2011 alone.

Dosomething.org recognized a need for enhanced youth awareness and developed a campaign – a call to action for its members to address the problem of texting and driving. “We were thinking: How do you stop people from texting? Well, you use your thumbs,” says Naomi Hirabayashi, chief marketing officer at Dosomething.org. “Then the idea came: thumb socks. We realized they could be a lot of fun and were also really visual, so they would serve an awareness purpose.”

The socks function as a reminder of the dangers of texting while driving. “We’re giving young people the tools to start a conversation around safe driving with their friends in a fun and unique way,” says Hirabayashi.

Dubbed “Thumb Wars,” the idea behind the campaign was simple: Give away “thumb socks” to interested participants and encourage them to share their photos. The socks are given to young people, ages 13-25, who sign up to participate in the campaign through the nonprofit's website. Participants who share their photos are entered into a drawing for the chance to qualify for a college scholarship.

So far, the campaign has received an unexpectedly large public response. Last year, over 223,000 people participated in “Thumb Wars,” and over 127,000 pairs of socks were given away. The success of the Thumb Wars campaign is largely due to the simplicity of the giveaway. “It makes the story clear, simple and impactful,” says Hirabayashi. “Make sure you’re offering something of clear value to your target market.”

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