How to be creative without creative w*nk

Well, isn’t this a horrific way to drum up business for your funeral home business?

Except it isn’t. Text & Drive  

When outraged motorists (because everyone needs something to be outraged about) Googled the funeral home, they ended up at a site that said this:

If you’re here, you’ve probably seen our “Text and Drive” billboard. And if you have, you probably came to this website to tell us what horrible people we are for running an ad like that. And you’d be right.

It is a horrible thing for a funeral home to do. But we’re not a funeral home.

We’re just trying to get Canadians to stop texting and driving, which is projected to kill more people in Ontario this year than drinking and driving. That’s right. More. And while most people wouldn’t even think about drinking and driving, over half of Ontario drivers admit to reading texts while behind the wheel. That’s more than half of the drivers on the road today risking their lives, their passengers’ lives and the lives of their fellow motorists and pedestrians.

Which should make you even madder than our billboard did.

But getting a few pissed-off motorists onto their website wasn’t really what they wanted, because a few pissed-off people on a website doesn’t really make much difference. What did make a huge difference was the amount of publicity they got for it.

For the price of a single billboard (and probably their very good PR agency), this campaign achieved national and international attention. This is creative thinking at its best. It’s tough to measure results from this kind of campaign, but they raised a lot of awareness. It’d be interesting to see if text-drive incidents dropped…

I’ve talked a bit about creative thinking in my book, Business For Superheroes. Not just because it’s fun, either; but because not everybody has lots of money to drop on advertising. Advertising and PPC are great – but they’re not the only tools in the marketing box.



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Hit me up with any creative advertising and PR you’ve seen that actually got results. I’m not interested in creative wank, which is the category most of it falls into. I’m interested in stuff that works.

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