Texting and Driving: The Use of Specific Ad Elements for Attitude Change: An Abstract

Ilgım Dara Benoit, Elizabeth Miller, Elika Kordrostami, Ceren Turedi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There are three types of driving distractions: visual (e.g. looking at the navigation system display), manual (e.g., eating since it requires the driver to take their hands off the wheel), and cognitive (e.g., talking to a passenger) (CDC 2013). While each distraction is dangerous in itself, due to the combination of visual (looking at the phone), manual (finding the phone, typing), and cognitive (reading and composing a message) distractions of texting, texting and driving is a major issue for public health concern (Sherin et al. 2014). Deaths due to texting and driving in the US have been steadily increasing, quickly reaching epidemic proportions (Darrow 2016). As a recent Los Angeles Times article noted “Texting—the most common cause of distracted driving accidents—is fast becoming the new drunk driving” (Wilson 2018). However, the majority of drivers do not think texting and driving is dangerous (Lardieri 2018), and over 50% admit to using their phone while driving (Darrow 2016). This suggests that a greater focus is needed on changing attitudes towards texting and driving in order to more effectively reduce this behavior. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to find ways to increase the effectiveness of anti-texting and driving ads leading to changes in drivers’ attitudes toward the texting and driving issue. With use of an online survey, this paper studies multiple factors that change people’s attitude toward the texting and driving problem, and lead them to think texting and driving is dangerous. The survey was conducted by using 162 real texting and driving advertisements. The findings show that while both rational and emotional appeals can change attitudes, emotional appeals tend to work better. The research also shows that the ads work better if the emotion is evoked via the image in the ad, rather than the text. In particular, fear evoked in the ad tends to change the attitude toward the issue the most –compared to other negative emotions such as disgust, anger, and guilt which are also commonly used in texting and driving ads. Finally, creativity of the advertisement effectively impacts attitude toward the issue as well. The findings of this research can be used by public policy makers and marketers in order to create more effective advertisements leading to a reduction in the texting and driving epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Management


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