Clever Ad Turns Texts into Real-Life Villains to Make You Stop Texting and Driving

Sending texts while driving is never safe. If you think you’re the exception, consider the following: Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year, according to the National Safety Council. Of those crashes, 330,000 people are injured in accidents caused by texting while driving, because even the simplest text can distract you for five seconds. That may not sound like much, but according to the CDC, “at 55 mph, the average text takes your eyes off the road long enough to cover a football field.”

So, what’s more likely to kill you: a horror movie villain, an evil dictator, or texting while driving? Turns out, the words you text are the most lethal of all. That’s the premise of the New Zealand-based Lightfarm Studios Letters Can Kill campaign, a collaboration with Mitsubishi to end distracted driving. The campaign is two years old (somehow it escaped our notice), but it is an edgy and clever approach to scaring us straight.

Letters Can Kill features a series of images showing some of the most common text phrases, such as “LOL,” “Hi,” and “Luv U.” The catch? The letters are made from the manipulated faces of the more terrifying “characters” in real life, such as Osama Bin Laden, KKK members,Muammar Gaddafi, Charles Manson, and Hitler. The photo manipulations turn these “real-life” bad guys into quasi-cartoon characters, which softens the punch some, but the images are still a bold and controversial in-your-face statement that certainly make their point.

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For images, check out the project Behance here.

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