Anyone with kids knows that reverse-psychology is a powerful persuasion tool. So what a perfect approach for this provocative billboard PSA aiming to convince Toronto drivers, especially teens, to stay off their smartphones with the slogan "Text and Drive," sponsored by the fake Wathan Funeral Home.
According to an American texting and driving safety site, 13 per cent of "drivers age 18-20 involved in car wrecks admitted to texting or talking on their mobile devices at the time of the crash." It also reports 34 per cent of teens say they have texted while driving and, even worse, 77 percent are very or somewhat confident they can safely text while driving.
Shocked drivers who saw the billboard on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway and googled the alleged advertiser -- hopefully after they got out of their cars -- reached a fake funeral home website that revealed the thinking behind the ad campaign.
"If you're here, you've probably seen our "Text and Drive" billboard. And if you have, you probably came to this website to tell us what horrible people we are for running an ad like that. And you'd be right.
It is a horrible thing for a funeral home to do.
But we're not a funeral home.
We're just trying to get Canadians to stop texting and driving, which is projected to kill more people in Ontario this year than drinking and driving. That's right. More. And while most people wouldn't even think about drinking and driving, over half of Ontario drivers admit to reading texts while behind the wheel. That's more than half of the drivers on the road today risking their lives, their passengers' lives and the lives of their fellow motorists and pedestrians.
Which should make you even madder than our billboard did."
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Clicks on the site's links for flowers, caskets and monuments revealed more statistics such as the fact that distracted drivers contributed to the deaths of 78 people in Ontario last year, killed 77 per cent more people than speeding in 2013 and that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash.
Though not stated on the website, Adweek reports that the campaign is the brainchild of Montreal ad agency John St. and Toronto outdoor ad company Cieslok Media.
"People see and hear the words 'Don't text and drive' almost every day, but the number of people doing it keeps going up and up," John St. managing director Mylene Savoie told Adweek.
"So we wanted to think of a different way of saying it that would make people think about the real consequences. Which is where 'Text and drive' came from."