This post is part of a regular series, “Powerful Advertising“, where we showcase some truly meaningful, effective, and powerful advertising.

Texting and driving is killing a lot of people.

So many, in fact, that it has now surpassed drinking and driving as the #1 roadway killer in America.

Many companies involved in the mobile or automobile industries have stepped up their PSA campaigns, trying to emphasize the dangers and change the culture surrounding texting and driving. (this AT&T ad is particularly unsettling)

A Toronto-based funeral home has taken it upon themselves to create their own PSA ad on the dangers of texting and driving, and it’s certainly eye-catching…

texting and driving funeral home ad toronto
Found on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto

The Wathan Funeral Home ad outraged many, as people thought it was incredibly tasteless and inhumane.

And what do people do when they’re outraged? They go online to find someone to DESTROY.

Here’s the thing, though… there is no Wathan Funeral Home.

As people turned online to find this funeral home and complain, they found this message on the company’s “official” website:

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.

Turns out the billboard was created by an ad agency in Montreal.

So, in the process of designing a very public PSA that could potentially save a few lives through educating and informing, the agency created a nice little ad for themselves, proving to the world that they can make effective ad campaigns that leave a memorable impact.

And, as I’ve mentioned before, the best way to create memorable experiences is to invoke an emotional reaction from your audience.

I think it’s safe to say that they achieved that with this billboard ad.

Bonus side point!

Anyone else see the irony in trying to eliminate distracted driving, while simultaneously lining our highways with incredibly distracting advertisements?

texting and driving funeral home toronto
Yah, not distracting at all.

Money talks, man. Money talks.

Everything is not what it seems with this clever billboard ad from a Toronto funeral home.
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