Texting While Walking Is Bad, but Guess What’s Worse?

New PSAs contrast embarrassment with manslaughter

Traffic safety efforts shouldn't play it safe. These days, it's often a case of gore or bore—or at least trying something beyond the expected. PSAs lacking visual punch quickly fade into the stream of traffic without making much impact. Unfortunately, that will probably be the case with the Ad Council's new campaign, "Stop the texts. Stop the wrecks." Created in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, the State Attorneys General, and agency The Concept Farm, the work is intelligently conceived and well executed, but not especially memorable. The TV spots contrast the embarrassing side effects of texting while walking—like negotiating stairs or walking near fountains at the mall—with the potentially fatal side effects of texting while driving. The result, as intended, is half amusing and half jarring. Still, it's just not that compelling, especially considering what else has been accomplished in the safety PSA space. Yes, the tremendously popular Sussex Safer Roads ad was bloodless and free of melodrama, but it scored because the sight of a family acting out a crash was such a radical departure. Once you started watching, it was tough to hit the brakes. "Stop the texts," while clearly well-intentioned, just doesn't quite get into gear fast enough, making it easy for viewers' attention to wander. Check out one spot below and two more after the jump.