PSA Shows A Split Second Of Distraction While Driving Can Cost A Life

This PSA ad combines the mundane and supernatural to drive a powerful driving safety message into the minds of distracted drivers.


AT&T and BBDO’s ongoing anti-phone driving safety campaign has launched yet another powerful ad in its long-running “It Can Wait” series.

The project continues to promote mobile users’ safe behavior through the eyes of a conscientious father whose split second distraction on the road lead to fatal consequences.

The four-minute video captures a day in the life of a suburban family. The father is driving his three little daughters to the local pool while the mother is at home, looking for their dog, Muffin, who has somehow escaped through the gate.

Mom, concerned about Muffin, calls Dad but he does not pick up his phone as he is driving while his children are in the car. He drops off the girls at the pool but remains focused on the road, even ignoring other calls, because he sees a man coming out of his home to check the mail.

Up until now, the ad almost makes us believe the whole experience won’t turn out badly — but then a little boy appears in the car.

The sudden appearance of the boy momentarily confuses the father but he still keeps his eyes on the road. The boy explains he goes to school with one of the man’s daughter and would like to drop him off home. The father continues to ignore his phone calls because of his young passenger, but suddenly the boy disappears.

The father shrugs off the incident, thinking it a figment of his imagination. The road is clear and the man drives on. Suddenly, the phone rings again and this time the father, less vigilant because he has no passengers, looks down to answer it. During that split-second, the same boy runs out on the road. The horrified man, belatedly slams the breaks, but it’s apparently too late as the screen fades to black.

This latest ad is a powerful piece of insight into how many drivers behave. A person feels a certain responsibility toward his passengers and demonstrates exemplary behavior while they are in the vehicle with them. He also feels a certain amount of responsibility to others on the road or near it while driving. But the same people often have no issues driving distracted if they perceive they are alone in the car or if the road seems empty. When drivers are alone, they don’t think they are a cause of danger but “The Unseen” serves to bust this myth.

Like its predecessors, “The Unseen” also goes to humanize, not demonize, the main character in the story, who is responsible for the accident and portrays him as someone people can relate to.

The TV version is whittled down to just 30 seconds but the full version adds an extra dose of context and suspense to the story.

About 64 percent people admit to using their phones when they are driving alone. Half the numbers say they do so while they have passengers in the car and even less than half says they do if the passengers are children.

However, the project has done a lot of good. One-third of the people who have seen the “It Can Wait” ads have changed their behavior to a more responsible one and more than 10 million people have vowed to ignore their phones while driving.

You can see the full version here:

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