Samsung tackles safe driving with gamification reward app

By Rosie Baker | 12 March 2014

Samsung believes brands have a responsibility to the communities they operate in. Putting its money where its mouth is, the tech brand has invested in a mobile phone app designed to tempt young drivers with rewards and incentives in return for safe driving.

The brand is working in partnership with local organisations, NSW Police, the NSW Centre for Road Safety and the University of Newcastle to roll out a pilot scheme to reduce road deaths and increase driver safety in the Newcastle area.

During driving, the Samsung S:Drive app cuts out the phone's signal so that drivers aren't distracted by calls or texts when behind the wheel. It uses the phone's GPS to track the speed and distance travelled to gauge how safely the driver is driving. The more safe kilometres users dive, the more and better rewards they receive.

Arno Lenior, Samsung marketing director, said the scheme is “inherently social” and allows groups of friends to team up to create Drive Teams and accumulate points together to earn better rewards.

The tech brand says the gamification initiative is part of its global efforts to find ways to use its technology to give something back to communities. It wants to go beyond providing technology and have a positive impact on society.

“It's a terrific piece of technology, using our mobile technology and NFC and it's using that technology for the right purpose. Young drivers are consistently told what not to do and it's a negative place to start,” Lenior told AdNews.

“By using rewards and gamification it's a positive way of approaching the problem. We think it's going to be particularly successful and drive positive behaviour change by rewarding them for doing the right thing.”

Samsung will work closely with stakeholders over the course of the 17-week pilot to understand what worked and didn’t work in the trial and analyse the data. The brand hopes to roll the scheme out nationally across Australia and potentially globally.

Lenior believes that all brands have a responsibility to tackle social issues and can have more impact on encouraging positive behaviour change by working with non-corporate organisations than by going it alone.

“It's just the modern way. There's a role for brands to play. If brands go it alone without the proper stakeholders and authorities, it probably won't work but in terms of collaboration like this, all of the parties were open to seeing what we could bring to the table and so together it's a much stronger story,” he said.

To recruit eligible drivers Samsung rolled out advertising, PR, experiential and social media activity targeting young people in Newcastle. A week after launching, Samsung has reached over half its target audience of 2,500 young drivers and is ahead its expectations.

Samsung is leveraging its other commercial partnerships, such as its sponsorship of the Qantas Wallabies and the Olympics to bolster the rewards offering. Drivers can earn tickets to Rugby games, vouchers from Event Cinemas, Ezyflicks, JB HiFi, and Rebel Sports, Samsung gadgets, subscriptions to Samsung Music hub and Caltex fuel coupons, festival tickets and snow weekends in New Zealand.

Samsung S:Drive is available on a limited range of Galaxy devices but could extend to more as the trial rolls out.

Samsung worked with Leo Burnett to develop the app. It also worked with Edelman, Starcom and Traffik on the project.

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