Teen, Doritos taking ‘Prevent the Bite’ cause to consumers

Eileen O. Daday's good news
Posted Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The Daily Herald

Kelly Voigt, 15, of Palatine thought her 15 minutes of fame were over when the glare of the television cameras faded. But her celebrity status looks to be gaining even more visibility, along with her cause.

Last month, Voigt was featured as one of 12 winners in a national telecast of the BRICK Awards, on the CW Network. The awards have been described as the “Oscars of youth service awards,” and the telecast had that kind of feel.

The night it aired, Voigt and her family gathered at Lamplighter’s Inn in Palatine to watch the show with classmates and softball teammates from Fremd High School, where Voigt and her twin sister, Meghan, are freshmen.

“It’s amazing, just amazing to be around so many great people,” Voigt said of being part of the awards show.

Voigt was chosen from about 1,000 applicants, and that night she won a prize of $10,000, including a $5,000 scholarship and $5,000 grant for her foundation.

Beginning next week, Voigt, along with 22 other BRICK Award winners and finalists, will take their causes directly to consumers, when they are featured on more than 500 million bags of Doritos.

Since Voigt is from the Northwest suburbs, and identified as being from Illinois on the package, look for her bags in your local supermarket.

Not only will they feature Voigt’s picture, but they will describe the cause that brought her all the attention in the first place: promoting safety around dogs.

At the age of 7, Voigt was seriously injured when a neighbor’s dog attacked her as she walked near her home. She needed about 100 stitches in her face and neck and later required treatment for post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression.

“I guess what surprised me most was learning how common it is,” says Voigt, who points to statistics that say nearly half of all children in this country will be bitten by a dog by the age of 12.

After making several presentations to her classmates at Pleasant Hill School in Palatine, Voigt and her mother, Kathy, worked with school psychologist, Nancy Skeffington, to broaden their reach, and form their foundation, “Prevent the Bite.”

Since forming two years ago, Voigt has made roughly 100 appearances before school children and other groups how to safely interact with dogs, and promoting responsible pet ownership.

She said the night of the telecast that her prize money would help fund a training video for schools and groups to use. Voigt said she has drawn inquiries from around the world, and with the added visibility she can respond to the growing interest.

As for Frito-Lay and their Doritos campaign, it’s just the latest in the company’s creative marketing. At Super Bowl XL, as part of the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge, the brand aired the five consumer-created commercials that were the finalists.

“We know young people today want to make a difference in the world, and they have a voice to be heard,” says Ann Mukherjee, Frito-Lay’s marketing vice president. “Doritos recognizes that this voice is only as loud as the stage they are given and that’s why Doritos is providing these inspirational young people with a creative outlet to share their stories.”

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