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New National Ad Campaign Highlights Sprint Drive First To Help Avoid Distracted Driving

As parents and teens across the country juggle shopping, parties and numerous trips in the car during the busy holiday season, Sprint (NYSE:S) will be releasing a new advertising campaign titled “Swarm,” informing wireless users how they can avoid the distraction of texting while driving.

The 30-second ad, created by Sprint and its agency, Team Sprint – Digitas and Leo Burnett – will begin airing Dec. 24 and features the Sprint Drive First™ mobile application, which can block and send automatic replies to text messages while you drive. The overarching message is we can live without the “&” when referring to texting & driving, and the Sprint Drive First app can help remove the temptation to do both at the same time.

To convey that message, a teenager is featured along with imagery of text messages buzzing around her like a swarm of bees as she prepares to go out. The swarm grows larger and larger, but once she enters the car and begins to drive away, Sprint Drive First engages and the swarm of text immediately fall to the ground.

“With drivers 23 times more likely to crash if they’re texting while driving,* the issue of distracted driving continues to be of great concern to Sprint,” said Bill White, senior vice president-Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. “During this holiday season, Sprint is especially pleased to release a new ad campaign that will help drivers focus on driving, further educate consumers about responsible driving behavior, and hopefully save lives.”

“Swarm” will appear across several outlets on network and cable television.

"There is nothing wrong with texting and there is nothing wrong with driving,” said Michael Boychuk, senior vice president and executive creative director, Leo Burnett. “It is texting and driving that is not safe. Sprint's new campaign, which kicks off with the TV commercial, showcases the Sprint Drive First mobile app that blocks texts while a car is in motion, effectively stopping the dreaded '&' while encouraging people to focus on driving, not texting."

Sprint Drive First

The Sprint Drive First application locks an Android mobile phone when the phone’s GPS detects motion above 10 miles per hour. Sprint Drive First can direct incoming calls to voice mail and silences distracting alerts. A customizable auto-response can be sent to all text messages, which are held until the driver comes to a stop.

Sprint Drive First is available on Sprint Android™-powered smartphones for $2 per month per phone (excluding surcharges and taxes). Sprint customers can sign up and receive a 15-day free trial by downloading the app from Google Play or visiting sprint.com/drive. Sprint Drive First is also part of Sprint Guardian, a bundle of safety- and security-oriented services for families. Sprint Guardian also includes Sprint Mobile Controls, Sprint Family Locator and Lookout Family Mobile Security.

Sprint’s commitment to combat distracted driving behavior

Since 2005, Sprint has worked on behalf of its customers and employees on the issue of distracted driving by partnering with schools, nonprofit organizations and product developers on various programs to help combat texting while driving and promote responsible driving, including:

  • Sprint’s Don’t Drive Distracted Pledge: Sprint asks that its employees and customers make a commitment to driving responsibly by signing the Sprint Don’t Drive Distracted pledge.
  • Thumb Wars: Sprint supports DoSomething.org’s Thumb Wars campaign , which provides thumb socks as a visual reminder to help stop teens from texting while driving. In addition to providing thumb socks, the campaign educates teens on the dangers of texting while driving, asks them to pledge to stop texting while driving, and encourages them to be ambassadors of this initiative by sharing it with their family and friends.
  • DriveCam: Sprint also works with companies that develop wireless embedded communication solutions to reduce distracted driving. DriveCam offers a driving safety program based on a video event recorder wirelessly enabled by Sprint. When g-forces indicate distracted driving, it sends a video to DriveCam, which then provides a professional safety analysis that fleet managers or parents of teens can use in coaching their driver. American Family Insurance makes it available as its Teen Safe Driver ProgramSM at no charge for its customers.
  • FleetSafer: Sprint is working with Aegis Mobility to help commercial fleet operators promote safe, legal and responsible use of smartphones. FleetSafer is the first solution to help ensure compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules requiring mobile phone calls made by interstate truck and bus drivers to be both “one-touch” and hands-free. The application ensures that smartphones and tablets conform to the organization’s safety policies and best practices regarding texting, emailing or communicating while driving.
  • Uconnect Access: Sprint and Chrysler Group developed a new wireless in-vehicle connectivity experience that promotes driver focus and provides driver assistance. Chrysler Group’s Uconnect Access in-vehicle communication system helps drivers maintain their focus on the road by using Bluetooth ®- equipped mobile phones for hands-free calling and texting and features one-touch 9-1-1 calling, roadside or vehicle assistance.
  • NASCAR: Through its sponsorship of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, Sprint is spreading the word on the importance of attentive driving through a public service announcement featuring Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne.
  • AAA: Sprint and AAA joined forces to spread the word about avoiding distracted driving. AAA members who sign a pledge to drive distraction-free receive a “dnt txt n drV” tire-tread wristband and an “I’ve pledged, have you?” T-shirt.

More information about Sprint’s focus on driving efforts can be found at sprint.com/drive. At this site visitors can access a database of useful distracted-driving mobile applications and find other helpful resources on responsible driving behavior.

*Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, July 2009

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served nearly 56 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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