As finalists, Gorman and Densmore each win a set of new Bridgestone- or Firestone-brand tires; additionally, if either are selected as a winner, they receive a grand prize package of a $5,000 college scholarship and their videos may be used on television stations nationwide as part of a public service announcement campaign. These public service announcements are supported by Bridgestone Americas in cooperation with Driver's Edge, a national non-profit organization which provides free classroom and behind-the-wheel defensive driving instruction for teens in cities across the United States.
Gorman, a 2008 graduate of Oak Park & River Forest High School and currently a television production and design major at Indiana University, spoofs infomercials in his video, enthusiastically promoting a (fictional) product that makes cars more eco-friendly.
"My video is a fake infomercial selling a product that makes your vehicle get up to 300 miles per gallon," said Gorman. "The infomercial transitions from comedic to serious when the host explains that, while the product doesn't actually exist, there are things that we can all actually do to drive greener."
Over the last few months, students from across the country got behind the camera to create videos showing how to stay safe and distraction-free behind the wheel. In the annual competition, a new feature this year also challenged students to showcase how we can all be more environmentally-conscious when driving.
A panel of judges culled through entries to select the top 10 most compelling videos. Judging criteria included how well the videos urged viewers to be more safety- or eco-conscious when behind the wheel and how effectively and creatively they communicated their message.
"Safety Scholars is a tremendously effective way for us to communicate our commitment to teen driving safety and environmental responsibility," said Christine Karbowiak, Executive Vice President, Community and Corporate Relations, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. "It's a program for teens, by teens, so the Safety Scholars campaign engages young drivers to think critically about some very important issues," Karbowiak continued.
Gorman and Densmore's videos, along with those of the other eight finalists, are now posted at safetyscholars.com for online voting through Aug. 3. Votes will determine three grand prize winners who will be announced Aug. 10. Finalists' videos are also available for viewing on social networking sites including Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. The official rules for this year's contest with complete entry, eligibility and prize details are available at safetyscholars.com.
In addition to Safety Scholars, Bridgestone Americas has invested in myriad innovative driving and tire safety education initiatives specifically targeting young drivers. The Bridgestone brand serves as presenting national sponsor of Driver's Edge. The recently launched Web site ThinkBeforeYouDrive.org unifies all of the company's consumer safety and education programs under a single banner to further reinforce the importance of smart driving. Additionally, Bridgestone Americas has aired a series of tire safety-related public service announcements featuring legendary racer and Firestone spokesman Mario Andretti. Andretti has also toured the country talking to students about automotive and tire safety, encouraging young drivers to learn their M.A.R.I.O's (Mario Andretti's Real Information on Safety).