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Werner Herzog PSA makes most vivid appeal yet on texting-and-driving August 24, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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There is a new public service announcement spreading on the internet. It’s horribly depressing. It may be amazingly effective. Documentary film maker Werner Herzog (you may remember him as the genius behind Grizzly Man) decided to take a stab at convincing drivers to put down their phones. Because he felt that a 30 second ad wouldn’t be enough for the narratives he wanted to share, he was granted 35 minutes, sponsored by AT&T, Verizon, Spring, and T-Mobile. Werner follows four stories of victims of accidents involving texting, and even the drivers who killed others while paying too much attention to their phones. As Gabriel Beltrone of Ad Week wrote:

“It may be cynical to say so, but a key part of what makes the documentary so effective is that it’s not just playing to the pity, or morality, of the audience. On some level, it’s appealing to selfishness. The victims may be relatable, but so are the drivers—they’re just regular guys, like you—the film actually is appealing to the viewer’s ego. Hitting someone won’t just ruin their lives and the lives of their loved ones. It will ruin yours.”

The PSA has been a huge success so far, garnering more than 1.75 million views on YouTube in just a few weeks. With social media bouncing the video all over the  internet, there’s a plan to show a 12 minute version of the PSA in over 40,000 high schools.

To see the longer version of the PSA, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Is there really a lack of awareness about the dangers of texting and driving?

2.  Assuming that so many people know that texting and driving is dangerous, why is there still such a widespread problem?

3.  How does the Werner Herzog PSA persuade audiences to commit to leaving a phone alone while behind the wheel?

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