BMW has launched an ad campaign to discourage people fr... BMW has launched an ad campaign to discourage people from texting and driving (BMW).
BMW recently launched an ad campaign against texting and driving, starting with an arresting commercial that starts off humorous and ends tragically.

The automaker, which was once derided for installing an entertainment system that was exceedingly difficult and distracting to use, is trying to convince people to use technology responsibly.

Developed by Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, the "DON'T TXT AND DRIVE" commercial juxtaposes the overprotective parent with the negligent act of texting at the wheel. Vignettes appear on the screen of a father bathing his child (wearing swimmies so he won't drown) and a mother lathering sanitizer all over her child's hands and arms. And yet at least one of the parents gets behind the wheel with a child in the back seat and starts texting.

"Parents are so doting of their young children in terms of the care and attention and what we do to protect our kids," said Trudy Hardy, the manager of BMW North America's marketing communications and consumer events. "But all of that can be undone in just one second."

The spots began airing mid-June.

The print ads have a similar gravity and intent to play on heart strings.

In one, a texting driver's cellphone blocks the view of a child running.

A pixilated version of the child's shape appears on the phone, blending in with the information on the screen. A ball appears in view from the windshield. Others obscure a deer in the road and truck turning in from a side street, suggesting the preoccupied driver is about to crash.

The print ads will appear in car magazines like AutoWeek, sports magazines like Golf Digest, and influencer books like Vanity Fair and The Economist.

BMW is also doing homepage takeovers where the words "Text Messaging Is Distracting" invades the screen before dissolving into a "Don't Txt And Drive" banner.

Is Texting An Epidemic?

The campaign was borne out of a December 2010 meeting between Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Jim O'Donnell, CEO of BMW North America. LaHood has been talking to automakers, asking them to step up and help control the distracted driving problem.

"Distracted driving of any kind, especially texting while driving, is an extremely dangerous activity that costs thousands of lives every year," said O'Donnell. "We developed this campaign to be impactful in hopes of evoking emotion and conveying the serious dangers of distracted driving and its potential consequences."

The U.S. Department of Transportation says nearly 5,500 people died in crashes in 2009 involving a distracted driver. The National Safety Council estimates that each year 100,000 car crashes have been tied to texting and driving while an additional 1.2 million annual accidents involve cell phone use.

And other studies suggest texting while driving is the equivalent of drinking while driving.

Professor David Meyer, who runs the University of Michigan's Brain, Cognition, and Action Laboratory and is a leading scholar of multitasking, says human beings are just not good at multitasking.

We simply cannot do it safely, he said. Even F-1 race car driver Michael Schumacher can't deal with more than one task at a time

The iDrive Problem

BMW developed a bad reputation in the previous decade for its iDrive system, which forced drivers to scroll through menus to do basic tasks, like changing the radio station. Although many drivers got used to the system, it took drivers' eyes off the road too often. The automaker was roundly criticized for iDrive.

Now in its fourth generation, the iDrive system is much more intuitive. It is less distracting and easier to use.

The system is designed to occupy only two seconds of a driver's attention to make a decision. Three lines of text is the limit for the screen. And drivers can ignore the screen at any time and focus on something more important, like actually driving.

A lot of information is also transmitted through the heads-up display, which is projected onto the windshield so drivers can keep their eyes on the road.

Tom Baloga, vice president of engineering for BMW North America, says it's inevitable that people will bring their cellphones and social media into the car. So the automaker is trying to design around that.

"It is a fine balance," Baloga said. "We understand the world we live in and we realize people want to stay connected. So we're using our research and our technology to integrate the connections to stay connected in a safe manner so that [the driver's] eyes are on the road."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Excellent ad BMW!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The U.S. Department of Transportation says nearly 5,500 people died in crashes in 2009 involving a distracted driver. The National Safety Council estimates that each year 100,000 car crashes have been tied to texting and driving while an additional 1.2 million annual accidents involve cell phone use. TEXTING & CELL PHONE USE IS AN ADDICTION!!!! I'll put down my cigarette when you put down your cell phone.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Texting and Driving makes for a really BAD DAY
      • 4 Years Ago
      that was a very disturbing commercial..what were you people thinking!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great commercial ....That's what it takes to make some people see the light so to speak...Whats really stupid is that there has to be ads like this..That people just don't care.. whether their kids are in the car or anything else ..People are so self centered they just don't care..Its not that they aren't aware,,,
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great message.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's about time a commercial like this has aied.. I see this alllll the time, parents driving while on the phone, even tho they KNOW its against the law. Texting is even worse.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Your attention please! Your full attention please! The life you save may be your own... Texting and driving must be made illegal - ansewring your phone while driving divert attention for one second - that second could be your last. Sadly,if a small child suddenly appears in front of your moving vehicle and you fail to avoid hitting that child -- your life will become a waking he'll.. Please heed these warnings - they are intende for your good - I know as a family member whose loved ones are no longer here --- heed this plea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      so look at this is about 10 times more upsetting, and probably wouldn't happen. But, when I was a teenager i used to text and drive, and stopped doing it for good the first time I saw this video. It is upsetting though, if you watch it through. just a warning. here is the link.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My daughter turned 16 last month and there was just no way we could afford to add her to our existing car insurance policy. I started shopping around for new car insurance and found this site: ( ) I just put in my ZIP code and received four quotes instantly after filling out the form. By comparing rates we were actually able to include my daughter in our new policy and not pay anymore per month for car insurance than we were originally paying for just me and my wife!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saw this on tv a few weeks ago... really drives the point home. America needs to stop trying to "protect" ourselves from seeing the reality of stupidity such as texting while driving.
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