WHAT: A PSA reminding people not to text and drive using a bevy of found footage.
WHO: FCB Cape Town for the government of the South African province of Western Cape, using the #ItCanWait hashtag popularized by AT&T
WHY WE CARE: Texting and driving is a combination of such utterly mundane daily activities that it’s uniquely difficult to make people realize–especially young people who feel a certain invincibility that comes with youth–just how suddenly it can change your life or the lives of people who are on the road with you. Ad campaigns like AT&T’s “It Can Wait” (which tapped no less of a talent than Werner Herzog to explore the lifelong impact of the results) tend to focus on the banality of the action of texting and contrast it with the suddenness of the collisions that can occur.
This campaign utilizes a similar contrast, but it’s more of a tonal shift. The first 20 seconds of the ad features a Benny Hill-like score, complete with wacky sound effects, as people walk into doors or ponds while texting on foot. Then, after reminding viewers that “You can’t even text and walk,” it gets shockingly and disturbingly real, with dashcam footage of a very serious car accident involving a young woman who’s texting behind the wheel. Given the need to remind people just how serious this can be, it’s effective–but it sure isn’t much fun to watch anymore.