May 15, 2016 – Flipping “Don’t Text and Drive” to “Text and Drive” on a billboard ad for a funeral home is irreverent humor at best and line-crossing hurt at worst. Wathan Funeral Home wants you to text and drive, but the thing is…they’re not a real funeral home.
The photo of the sign, which hopefully drivers didn’t snap mid-cruise, shows bold black text simply saying “TEXT AND DRIVE.” The bottom of the sign shows the name of the funeral home people were ready to blast. But when you go to Wathan Funeral’s website you realize you were under the spell of what some are calling dark and clever reverse psychology.
Not Really a Funeral Home
The site’s welcome message quickly acknowledges that they’re not really a funeral home, and then drives home some sobering projected statistics of texting and driving deaths in 2016.
The site also appears to have links for flowers, caskets and and monuments. Visitors will, however, find more grave statistics if they hover over these. “Last year, distracted driving contributed to the deaths of 78 people in Ontario” the “Flowers” icon informs.
The ad is actually a PSA from Montreal ad agency John St. and Toronto outdoor ad company Cieslok Media and is now hoisted in the air in two spots for motorists to see. “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,” said Mylene 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 consequences. Which is where ‘Text and drive’ came from.”
The Canadian billboard’s reach has crossed borders and attracted a lot of attention.