See What’s Hiding in This Video About Putting Your Damn Phone Down

Not pink elephants, but close

Headshot of Angela Natividad

How do you get 18- to 24-year-olds to put their phones down while driving? Maybe not with the supernatural. But who doesn’t love cats and music?

For the Department of Transport, London agency AMV BBDO created “Pink Kittens.” Directed by We Are From LA, it feels more like a pop-oriented lifestyle shoot than a public service announcement.

At its start, a busy city scene scrolls by from a driver’s perspective (assuming you’re looking out your side window … which, incidentally, is another thing you shouldn’t really be doing).

Then comes the question: Did you see the pink kitten? Look again.

The fast-paced street scene rewinds and scrolls by a second time, this time in slow motion. Hidden among a cop on a horse, kids playing double-dutch and dudes playing basketball are 100 pink kittens, waiting to be discovered like overripe Easter eggs.

Over one-third of drivers between 17 and 24 years old admit to using phones when driving (despite all of advertising’s best efforts to dissuade them). The goal of the campaign is to demonstrate just how much you can miss in that time: When drivers look down for just 2.3 seconds at 30 miles per hour, they miss 100 feet of road.

This isn’t a perfect campaign. But it serves as a gentle reminder of how much of our lives are hijacked by the digital world. In the endless, gamified pursuit of online FOMO, we don’t even recognize what treasures may well be hidden around us.

Not to say safety is the least of our concerns, in the car or anywhere else: Hawaii just inked a law that, beginning today, permits police to fine pedestrians between $15 and $99 when caught looking at phones or tablets while crossing the street. What we like about “Pink Kittens,” though, is that it isn’t a morality tale. It’s a story about what else you’re missing, one that indicates missing out on life has both immediate and potentially permanent repercussions.

“Pink Kittens,” part of the long-running Think! campaign, will include a live activation at Stratford International station today: A 100-foot pink banner will be unraveled that articulates the realities of mobile phone use, using physical scale. Think! ambassadors will also be present to chat with commuters, educating them on how much is missed when you fall, even for seconds, into the gaping black maw of your smartphone.

Project: Pink Kittens
Client name & job title: Laura Kane – Senior Marketing Manager, Susie Seldon – Marketing Manager
Creative Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Director: Nicholas Hulley, Nadja Lossgott
Copywriter: Neil Clarke
Art Director: Jay Phillips
Agency Planner: Tom White, Alaina Crystal, Emma Stafford
Agency Account Man: Katie Stanley, Tamara Klemich, Amy Tippen, Jess Smith, Luke Hickey
Agency Producer: Verity Elvin
Media Agency: Carat
Media Planner: Kate McNiven, Steve Shaw
Production Company: Iconoclast London
Director: We Are From LA
Executive Producer: Anna Smith
Producer: Emily Rudge
Director of Photography: Rina Yang
Editor: Paul O’Reilly
Edit House: Stitch
Edit Producer: Alice Clarke
Grade: James Bamford
Post-Production: The Mill
Post-Production Producer: Simon Bath
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Sound House: 750MPH

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.