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January 13, 2012

Client Highlight: Pulsing Brake Lights Save Lives

January 13, 2012

After a long journey through my 20's--geographical, temporal and otherwise--I have now landed in an office that is down the street from my high-school. I am basically okay with this.  It is also down the street from where I attended driver's ed: 86th St. in front of North Central was among the first stretches of road that I drove out upon legally, accompanied by a driving instructor who--it seemed to me--lived in an unwavering state of barely contained fury and constant paranoid vigilance.

I'm not sure if everyone had this experience, but my Driver's Ed teacher made driving around in Indianapolis sound like it was about on par with going over the top of the trenches in World War I and sprinting out into No-Man's-Land during the Battle of Somme under heavy fire. His attitude was pretty much like, "Well. You might survive without being taken prisoner. But if you do, it will basically be a lucky accident. And frankly, knowing you, it would surprise me."

Occasionally, mid-commute, my mind will drift back to those days. I’ll remember the grisly stories that I was told in Driver's Ed about the mortal danger zone that I would immediately be plunged into if I ever drove out into traffic without first checking my tires to make sure that they were at the correct air-pressure, having my hands at 10 & 2 o'clock on the steering wheel, making sure my mirrors were adjusted to ideal angles for a maximum span of surveillance, and sitting erect in the driver's seat in a frozen 90 degree angle posture, with my eyes looking straight ahead at all times aside from occasionally darting left or right to look in the rearview or driver's side mirror.

For a moment my hands will spring back to their 10 & 2 o'clock positions and my spine will stiffen into an erect posture. When I turn, I will turn hand over hand, immediately returning my hands to 10 & 2 after completing the turn.  My eyes will scan my mirrors at the recommended “every 10 to 15 seconds” frequency, just to make sure that no semis or busses are accelerating behind me at a speed and proximity that would indicate that if I don’t step down on the accelerator they will roll over my car from behind and crush me (apparently, according to my Driver’s Ed instructor, there’s usually about 50-50 chance that they probably are).

I’ll slow my vehicle down by about 5 miles per hour to drive in perfect conformity with the speed limit. I will take my foot off the accelerator and begin slowing my vehicle at the recommended 800 yard distance before Stop signs.   I will brake and accelerate smoothly, pretending that a glass of water was sitting on my dashboard and I didn’t want to spill it.

Unfortunately, if I am completely honest, I have trouble maintaining this level of disciplined operational perfection at all times while I am out on the road. Even more frightening is the fact that, according to my understanding, other people sometimes have problems doing this too.  We are all out there on the road in various slumpy postures, with imperfectly adjusted mirrors, and our hands—God forbid—at all sorts of incorrect positions on the steering wheel, driving 5 miles over the legal limit.

In all seriousness, driving back and forth to work is without a doubt the most dangerous activity that most of us partake in during an average 24 hours.

That’s where Pulse comes in. 90% of rear-end collisions are avoidable with extra warning. Just watch this video and see if you don’t agree with me.



A Marketing Challenge: Pulse’s product-offering—namely, pulsing third brake lights—is not available to consumers for direct purchase. Instead, Pulse partners with car dealerships across the country to provide this safety feature. Consumers who want to purchase one need to locate a nearby dealership who can install Pulse in their vehicle.
This presents a marketing challenge - and opportunity. Pulse focuses on a two-pronged outreach. Their main focus is in-person networking between dealership personnel and their nationwide sales team. To bolster that, they use social media to make connections and help co-promote their product. SmallBox helped by offering consulting around social media best practices and helping produce video content (the one embedded above!) to tell the Pulse story.
Pulse is just starting to blow up all over the country—keep an eye out and you’ll probably see their product while driving down the road at some point in the next few weeks.  It’s a small but extremely important innovation that will save lives—and no doubt already has. You can find Pulse on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn.



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