Billboard by Fictitious 'Funeral Home' Encourages Texting and Driving

By Melanie Arter | May 23, 2016 | 11:07am EDT
(AP Photo)

A billboard encouraging texting while driving by a fictitious funeral home was unveiled two weeks ago in Toronto, Ontario in Canada as part of an ad campaign to get people to stop texting and driving.

The message on the billboard simply reads: “Text and Drive” with the name “Wathan Funeral Home” at the bottom.

According to Ad Week, the billboard is actually sponsored by the Montreal agency John St and Cieslok Media as an effort to discourage 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," Ad Week quoted Mylene Savoie, managing director of John St. Montreal, as saying. "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."

When you go to the "Wathan Funeral Home" website, you’re greeted with the following message:

“Welcome. 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,” the message stated.

“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,” it added.

“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,” it stated.

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