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One Month Old California and Washington Hands-Free Law Boosts Bluetooth Sales

2008-08-04 17:14:00

One Month Old California and Washington Hands-Free Law Boosts Bluetooth Sales

    SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 4 /EMWNews/ -- Since July 1 when the California

and Washington hands-free driving legislation became effective, Parrot has

seen a three-fold increase in sales of its hands-free car kits. Parrot, the

world's largest manufacturer of Bluetooth(R) car kits attributes the

increase to an aggressive advertising and public relations campaign it

launched two months prior to the law taking effect.

    "The 28 million licensed drivers in California and Washington have had

plenty of time to prepare for the law since the measure was adopted by the

Legislature back in 2006 and I think that government agencies and

manufacturers of hands-free products have done a really great job of

creating awareness among consumers," says David Wenning, senior vice

president - sales and marketing, Parrot.

    California electronics retailers also reported a large jump in sales of

hands-free cell phone devices leading up to the ban. According the NPD

Research Group, California consumers rushing to comply with the new law,

purchased hands-free devices at nearly four times the national average in

May of this year. San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento were

the top four markets for hands-free devices in the country based on units

per store.

    "The July 1 deadline to go hands-free in California had a substantial

effect on Parrot-branded products," says John Haynes, Product Manager for

Al & Ed's Autosound. "We experienced over 180% unit sales growth in the 2nd

Quarter of 2008 as compared to the 1st Quarter. Having trained sales staff

in place was extremely important as consumers struggled to understand

Bluetooth(R) and what their options were beyond headsets."

    According to a California Highway Patrol spokesperson, 7,182 cell phone

citations were issued statewide during the month of July and fewer than 50

motorists under the age of 18 have been cited under the new law.

    In Washington, where the hands-free law is a secondary enforcement law,

which means that drivers only receive a ticket if they have been pulled

over for another driving violation, a little over 100 hands-free citations

were issued in July.

    As part of the campaign to encourage more drivers to comply with the

hands-free law, Parrot introduced a quirky but effective "Positive Parrot"

campaign ( to build awareness for the various

Bluetooth hands-free options available to consumers. The campaign ignited a

debate about the Parrot vs. Quail for California state bird and offered

consumers chances to win free car kits, a $10,000 sweepstake prize or a

free vacation to Turks and Caicos. Ultimately the campaign increased

traffic to Parrot's website by 30%. The linchpin of the campaign was a

"Driver's Education" viral video that was viewed over 4 million times on

video sharing sites such as YouTube.

    Parrot offers several hands-free options, including portable car kits,

installed car kits and a motorcycle helmet kit that provide superior audio

quality, comfort and freedom while driving. More information and

educational resources are available here:

    About Parrot:

    Founded in 1994, Parrot has rapidly established itself as a pivotal

global player for wireless mobile telephone accessories. Drawing on its

tried-and-tested expertise on voice recognition and signal processing

technologies, Parrot was one of the very first companies to produce

Bluetooth(R)-enabled wireless hands-free car kits, having identified this

standard's vast potential as early as 1999. Determined to accompany the

mobile telephone's irresistible breakthrough into our day-to-day lives,

Parrot has been developing a new range of Multimedia products since 2006,

including wireless hi-fi systems and LCD photo frames.

    Today, Parrot truly has a major international focus, both in terms of

its client base, with 86.6% of sales generated outside of France, and in

terms of production, outsourced to carefully selected partners, enabling it

to achieve the best possible level of quality and responsiveness. Parrot is

now particularly well positioned to capitalize on the bright future opening

up for mobile telephone devices. Parrot has seen sustained growth in its

consolidated revenues, which have tripled since 2005. In 2007, Parrot sold

over 5 million product units and generated 220 million Euros in revenues,

up 32% on 2006.

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Blake Masterson

Freelance Writer, Journalist and Father of 5

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