In Hong Kong, car manufacturer Volkswagen teamed up with a local movie theater to produce a public service announcement warning against the dangers of texting and driving.
The spot played to a packed theater, and used location-based broadcasting to hit the audience with a one-two punch: a text message sent to every member of the crowd followed by a sudden shock emerging from the silver screen. Watch the video to get the full impact:
There’s no doubting the smarts behind the campaign – although a cynic may doubt the veracity of the footage. For one thing, the geo-fencing technology used to issue a mass text usually requires recipients to opt-in. Were they asked to opt in to a contact list when they booked tickets? If so, were they not primed for some sort of interactive multimedia experience before sitting down? And what about cinema-goers who did not subscribe, or those who followed standard movie protocol and switched their phones off? It looks like everyone in the audience not only receives the text, but immediately reads it?
In fairness, this nitpicking misses the point. Real or staged, the clip brutally demonstrates the risks associated with texting and driving, and you have to applaud VW for sponsoring the campaign – after all, not many manufacturers are willing to show the fatal potential of their product, even in support of a good cause.
The video has rightly gone viral, and should be viewed by anyone who still doesn’t take distracted driving seriously - just as long as they don’t attempt to watch it from behind the wheel.