Cannes Lions

@SummerBreak It Can Wait

FULLSCREEN, Los Angeles / AT&T / 2016

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@SummerBreak is a real-time reality show starring 11 real teens, playing out over 8 weeks across social networks, inviting the audience into a participatory multi-screen content experience. Knowing the real connection teens feel with the cast, we created a moment where they felt what it would be like to lose them to distracted driving. As the summer came to a close, fans, awaiting a YouTube episode of the @SummerBreak kids road-tripping to Big Bear, tuned into an “episode” that opened on the girls creating a “Caraoke” video to one of the hottest songs of the summer. The driver—Ava—leans in to check a text message and suddenly the car is hit. The screen goes black for a beat, then Ava comes back on explaining that the video was a demonstration of the fatal consequences of distracted driving, and asks fans to take the “It Can Wait” Pledge.


Though @SummerBreak lives on multiple platforms, the core viewing experience happens on YouTube where, over the course of the summer, fans tune in 3 times a week for their regularly scheduled episodes. Strategically selecting the penultimate episode of the season ensured a large audience with a built-in relationship to the cast members. Aiming for viewers to approach the video as a regularly scheduled episode, we purchased no media and backfilled the video with black footage so it appeared to be the average length of an episode. In order to connect with young people that were not currently @SummerBreak viewers, we tapped into the summer trends, and named the video “Fifth Harmony Worth It Carpool Karaoke,” as if it was just another YouTube video, to give new viewers the same shocking demonstration of the fatal consequences of distracted driving.


The response to the video was explosive. Without any paid media, the video drew more than 5.5 million views on YouTube and 20 million on Facebook. Terrified fans commented that they thought it was real, that it made them “cry,” “scream,” “shake with fear,” and pledged never to distracted drive again. These same fans shared the video more than 100,000 times, as people asked their loved ones to please take the “It Can Wait” pledge. Young people weren’t the only ones sharing. Without any prompting from our team, social media influencers and celebrities, including Kris Kardashian, shared the video on her Facebook, and People magazine posted it on their website. By creating a powerful demonstration, in the right place, at the right time, we created a culture-defining moment that saved lives and changed the way a generation viewed distracted driving.

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