Today the Ad Council and Project Yellow Light announced the winners of the eighth annual Project Yellow Light scholarship competition. The contest calls for students to create a TV, radio or billboard PSA to educate their peers about the dangers of distracted driving, including the dangers of smartphone distracted driving. The winning PSAs will be revealed today on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square, in space donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.
Project Yellow Light was established in 2007 by the family of Hunter Garner to honor his memory after his death in a car crash at age 16. According to the latest data, 3,166 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017, representing 8.5% of all crash fatalities that year.*
“We’re so proud of all our winners, all those who took part in this year’s competition and everyone taking an active role to encourage safe driving among their peers,” said Julie Garner, founder of Project Yellow Light. “Thank you to our amazing partners helping us advance our mission to save lives.”
Since 2011, Project Yellow Light has partnered with the Ad Council to turn the winning submissions into PSAs that receive national exposure through 1,600 TV stations nationwide, iHeartMedia radio stations, and Clear Channel Outdoor’s hundreds of printed billboards and over 1,200 digital billboards.
This year, AT&T’s It Can Wait and Apparent Insurance and Elephant Insurance are supporting the initiative for the first time, joining longstanding partners CBS 2 New York, Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), iHeartMedia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). Scholarships for this year’s winning students are provided with support from Aspire, AT&T’s $500 million commitment to education and skilling, Apparent Insurance, Clear Channel Outdoor and Elephant Insurance. A special Snapchat filter, donated by Snap, will be available in Times Square during today’s winner reveal event.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve received a record number of submissions from every state across the country,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Young people are passionate about using their creativity and voice to prevent distracted driving, and together with our fantastic partners we can support their lifesaving messages on a national scale.”
The contest received a record-breaking 2,709 submissions this year, a dramatic increase over last year’s previous record of 1,600 entries. Entries were received from students representing all fifty states and Washington, D.C. The 2019 scholarship prizes were awarded to the following student honorees:
- Grand prize video – high school: Joshua Rodriguez, Dexavior Smith and Jenuo Eneral (Miami, Fla.)
- Grand prize video – college: Marcus Marshall (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
- Second place video – high school: Riley Kvalheim (Winter Park, Fla.)
- Second place video – college: Jamicah Moore (Macon, Ga.), Kade Freeman (Savannah, Ga.) and Christian Nieva-Devela (Oahu, HI)
- Third place video – high school: Paetyn Monroe (Van Buren, Ark.)
- Third place video – college: Holly Velie (Melbourne, Fla.)
- Billboard design – high school: Sydni Silverstone (San Diego, Calif.)
- Billboard design – college: Alyssa Loffredo (South Salem, N.Y.)
- Radio – high school: Nathan Perkins (Bartlesville, Okla.)
- Radio – college: Amanda Baird (Great Falls, Va.)
A host of advertising industry executives and artists lent their time to judging the entries. This year’s panel included recording artist and songwriter Aloe Blacc; renowned filmmaker and social activist Kweku Mandela; DDB Worldwide CEO and Global President Wendy Clark; Wordsworth and Booth President Tony Mennuto; Co-Chairman and Partner of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Jeff Goodby; and representatives from the Martin Agency, Pereira O’Dell and Project Yellow Light partners the Ad Council, Apparent Insurance, AT&T’s It Can Wait, CCO, Elephant Insurance and iHeartMedia.
Apparent Insurance Managing Director, Colleen Benzin stated:
“The high volume and incredible quality of impactful submissions received for the 2019 competition speaks to the importance of the work being done by Project Yellow Light and founder Julie Garner. The winning entries will, no doubt, reach students and their peers and motivate them to consider their safety on the road. We’re proud to partner in the fight for safe driving.”
AT&T AVP of Corporate Brand Marketing, Ryan Luckey stated:
“The main goal of the It Can Wait program is to end distracted driving by educating all drivers about the dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel. We applaud this new generation’s efforts to use their talents to further raise awareness around this important issue.”
CBS 2 NY Emmy-winning journalist, Alex Denis stated:
“We all must work together to spread the message and hold each other accountable. This is as serious as it gets–saving lives. No one should suffer the loss of a loved one due to the senseless act of distracting driving.”
Vice President of Communications of iHeartMedia, Jessica King stated:
“For the past three years, Project Yellow Light has delivered creative and impactful public service messages from talented and inspiring young people. This year’s winners are no exception, and we are pleased to air 2019’s winning messages across our national network of radio stations to remind our listeners of the dangers of texting and driving.”
CEO of NOYS, April Rai stated:
“Distracted driving is such a critical issue for young drivers. The media assets created by youth for Project Yellow Light resonates so strongly with their peers and makes this program so powerful.”
Through the Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks. the campaign, the Ad Council and NHTSA have been working together to prevent distracted driving since 2012.