This is pretty bold.

Motorists in downtown Toronto may have been shocked this morning to see a digital outdoor advertisement for a funeral home trying to drum up some business by encouraging drivers to text and drive. The sender is listed as www.wathanfuneral.com, and as any driver will realize when they pass it - hopefully - it's very much an anti texting and driving message. Funeral homes don't really want you to hurry on down to use their services. No, trust me on this, I used to work at a funeral home. There's a twist to this, of course.

“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,” says Mylène Savoie, Managing Director of john st., Montreal. “So we wanted to think of a different way of saying it that would make people think about the real and deadly consequences, which is where ‘Text and drive’ came from.”

“We thought most people would get the message from the billboard alone – that texting and driving kills,” says Savoie, “But if someone actually thought a Funeral Home was really promoting this kind of behaviour, we should create a site to set the record straight.”

The site www.wathanfuneral.com looks like any other funeral home website, except when you read the copy, including this line: “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.”
It also includes statistics that show how commonplace distracted driving is with figures like “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.”

The agency approached Cieslok Media (in Toronto) who embraced the idea and the cause. “As a premium large format company, we are right there on the streets and highways where distracted driving takes place every day,” says Jörg Cieslok, President and CEO of Cieslok Media. “We thought this was a powerful way to tell people how dangerous distracted driving is and hopefully get them to stop doing it. It’s also a very impactful way of showing how powerful digital signage can be.”

Ad agency: John St. Montreal
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about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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