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Ad of the Day: Canada’s Drug Free Kids has rolled out a chilling campaign to stop teens from high driving

Canada’s Drug Free Kids has rolled out a harrowing PSA campaign that it hopes will make teens think twice about smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

The crux of the campaign is a two-minute film called “The Call That Comes After” that follows a fairly predictable story arc, at least as far as PSAs go. In the spot, a “goody two shoes” girl decides to get into the car with her crush even though he’s been smoking pot. While she’s texting in the passenger’s seat, he turns up the radio and zones out for a bit, which causes him to crash into another vehicle. The spot ends with a cracked phone screen that shows frantic texts from the girl’s mother.

While the spot itself isn’t particularly noteworthy, the twist is that parents who email their kids the video can trigger customized text messages to send right when their son or daughter is almost finished watching the PSA. So while the crash unfolds and the girl’s cracked phone appears onscreen, teens will receive actual “texts” from their mom or dad that say things like “Where are you?” and “I’m worried. Please call me.”

Parents can go to thecallthatcomesafter.com to fill out a form that will automatically email the video and subsequently send the texts once their child has started watching. While a flaw of the campaign is that the texts are sent from a random number and not the actual number of the parent who sent them, the effort does a good job of planting the viewer into the narrative of the story so they can experience firsthand the devastating impact that driving while high can have on loved ones.

Created by Toronto-based FCB Six, the pro bono campaign is intended to start a conversation between parents and teens about the dangers of high driving. According to a study that was released in 2012, driving after marijuana use doubles one’s risk of getting into an accident.

“Research shows that parents are one of the biggest influence on their kids when it comes to drug abuse, so we took an approach of reaching out to parents directly to help get the message to their kids, with an innovative use of technology that we thought would best grab their kid’s attention,” said Vicki Waschkowski, managing director of FCB Six, in a statement.

According to the agency, the PSA’s technological tie-in was brought to life with help from IBM’s Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, SMS, YouTube and an “on-demand video rendering engine.”

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Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she oversees creativity coverage in North & South America and runs The Drum’s weekly “US Creative Works” roundup. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal and has interviewed dozens of creatives for The Drum’s “What does it take to be a great creative?” video series.

All by Minda