AT&T and Errol Morris Digitally Aged Fatal Crash Victims to Show the Lives They Could Have Lived

BBDO's newest spots mark Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Working with the family of crash victim Forrest Cepeda and forensic artists, AT&T showed how he might have looked if he hadn't been killed 8 years ago. AT&T
Headshot of David Griner

All deaths carry with them a litany of tragedies, but none more so than the loss of those just beginning their journeys into the world. The emotional toll of a child or teen’s death is unparalleled, and for loved ones, it’s followed by a lifetime of soul-aching speculation about the life that might have been.

To help visualize that lingering weight—and all the possibilities that are ended in the moment of a fatal accident—AT&T, director Errol Morris and agency BBDO New York have created a new series of “It Can Wait” ads timed with April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Made in close cooperation with forensic artists and the families of two distracted-driving crash victims—one killed while reading a text, the other hit by a texting driver—the spots star digitally aged versions of the young men who died in high school.

“If Caleb Sorohan and Forrest Cepeda were alive today, they might be pursuing their dream jobs or teaching their kids to play sports,” writes AT&T brand marketing assistant vice president Ryan Luckey in a blog post about the campaign. “Maybe they’d still be figuring life out. But we’ll never know–smartphone-distracted driving cut their lives short.”

The spots will be running in U.S. theaters starting today, and they will appear before several of the summer’s biggest blockbusters, including “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

In addition to the ads, Morris created mini-documentaries about each of the two teens featured in the campaign. Watch those below, along with a behind-the-scenes video showing how the digital aging was accomplished.


Agency: BBDO New York
Client: AT&T
Title: The Face of Distracted Driving
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Matt MacDonald
Creative Director: Kevin Mulroy
Creative Director: Bianca Guimaraes
Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
Group Executive Producer: Julie Collins
Executive Producer: Dan Blaney
Producer: Bree Hopenwasser
Senior Account Director: Kathryn Brown
Account Director: Katie Hollenkamp
Account Director: Jaimie Donohue
Account Manager: Katelyn Burns
Account Executive: Caroline Main
Chief Strategy Officer: Crystal Rix
Strategy Director: Charles Baker
Project Manager: Claire McCastle

Production Company: Biscuit
Director: Errol Morris
Line Producer: Julie Ahlberg
Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
Head of Production: Rachel Glaub

Editorial For Caleb and Forrest :30s and Longforms: Exile NY
Editor: Steven Hathaway
Asssitant Editor: Molly Rokosz
Executive Producer: Sasha Hirshfield
Producer: Evyn Bruce

Editorial & Finishing for Case Study Video: No6
Editor: Ryan Bukowski
Producer: Laura Molinaro
Executive Producer: Corina Denison

Finishing / VFX: The Mill NY
Chief Creative Officer: Angus Kneale
Executive Creative Director: Ben Smith
Creative Director: Gavin Wellsman
Creative Director: Corey Brown
Shoot Supervisor: Patrick Heinen
Colorist: Fergus McCAll
Executive Producer: Rachael Trillo
Senior Producer: Nirad “Bugs” Russell
Coordinators: Sophie Mitchel & Mia Lalanne
2-D Leads (Caleb): Krissy Nordella
2-D Leads (Forrest): Burtis Scott
Compositors: Corrie Brown, Jamie Scott, Kevan Lee, Rob Meade
Design: Bobby Ushiro

Music by Human
Executive Producer: James Dean Wells
Caleb :30 Composer: Theo DeGunzberg & Gordon Minette
Caleb LF Composer: Seth Fruiterman
Forest :30 Composer: Ed Dunne
Forest LF Composer: Craig DeLeon

Audio Post by Post Human
Post Producer: Craig Caniglia
Engineer: Sloan Alexander

Age Progression Art: Phojoe
Age Progression: Jovey Hayes
Age Progression Art Direction: Emanuel Craciunescu

BTS Shooting for Age Progression art: a DETROIT REEL production
Producer/Director: Marco Aluia
Cinematographer: Patrick Elliott

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."