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23rd May 2016

This grossly insensitive billboard ad actually has a powerful message

Drivers on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto were horrified to be greeted with a grossly insensitive billboard advertising a funeral home.

The ad was a simple parchment background with the slogan ‘Text and Drive’ in capital letters. Underneath the slogan, the logo for Wathan Funeral Home was displayed.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 11.47.31

Thankfully the ad is actually a provoking public safety announcement from Montreal office of agency John St. The insensitive funeral home, thankfully is not real but it does have a website explaining the project.

An explanation begins:

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, if current trends continue, is expected to exceed fatalities from drinking and driving as early as next year. 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.

 The company behind the idea, Cieslok Media, said the ad is designed to “get people thinking about the real consequences of texting and driving.”

“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 Mylene Savoie to Adweek MD of John St. Montreal.

“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.”