Historically, organizations have tried tackling public issues through pricey awareness campaigns that only used traditional media like TV, radio, print, and billboards. It’s a creative strategy that’s been used for the war on drugs, anti-smoking, and drunk driving campaigns. But with massive platforms like YouTube and Facebook, organizations now leverage the power of social media to drive awareness.
And for good reason. YouTube has over 1.8 billion monthly users and it reaches more people ages 18-49 than any TV network. Putting a video on YouTube gives it the instant ability to go viral and reach millions of people around the world.
Viral videos have been the weapon of choice for many organizations to combat texting and driving. To help show the industry what’s worked best with internet audiences – the drivers who are most typically distracted, incidentally – we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most viral distracted videos of all time.
The list features videos with 3.8 to 17.4 million views from organizations like AT&T, Kia, and NHTSA. Some are real stories of people who were texting and driving, like the teenager Liz Marks. Others are heart-wrenching stories of people who have been lost due to distracted driving. A few feature real footage from crashes and near misses. The biggest surprise of the list is the top three videos. Instead of taking a somber approach, they’ve created funny videos about the dangers of distracted driving. Interestingly, no videos from auto insurers made the list.
10. PSA – Don’t Text or Phone while Driving
Views: 3.8 million | Published: September 23, 2009 | Publisher: TheRadioAteMyTV
The PSA Don’t Text or Phone while Driving has generated 3.8 million views since its launch in 2009. It shows footage of a real fatal crash when a distracted driver collided head-on with a school bus.
9. Caught On Tape: Teen Drivers Moments Before a Crash
Views: 3.8 million | Published: March 26, 2015 |Publisher: ABC News | Nightline
The Teen Drivers Moments Before a Crash video from ABC’s Nightline shows dashcam footage from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s study. Teenage drivers are talking, using their phones, putting on makeup, and generally not paying attention to the road before they crash. This is every parent’s nightmare.
8. The Last Word
Views: 4.3 million views | Published: April 25, 2011 | Publisher: TextTheLastWord
The Last Word comes in at 4.3 million views and was created by Ronin Advertising Group for the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority’s TextTheLastWord campaign. Through a cracked phone screen, we see a father being laid to rest after a texting and driving crash. This campaign encouraged 1 million people to take the pledge to think before texting and driving.
7. The Unseen | It Can Wait | AT&T
Views: 6.1 million | Published: September 1, 2016 | Publisher: AT&T
AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign may be the most well-known anti-distracted driving campaign. Created by BBDO New York, The Unseen has racked up 6.1 million views since 2016. It uses elements that are characteristic of thriller and sci-fi films to tell the story of a responsible dad whose carpool duty goes tragically wrong.
6. Don’t Text and Drive PSA
Views: 6.8 million | Published: August 11, 2014 | Publisher: Tony Gentry, produced by TranterGrey Media
What if you could freeze time? Don’t Text and Drive, sponsored by WJBF News Channel 6 and One Hour Optical, does just that in this shocking video. It shows a teenage driver pleading with a mom for forgiveness for the crash that’s about to happen.
5. “The Last Text” | AT&T
Views: 7.7 million | Published: December 17, 2013 | Publisher: AT&T
The Last Text is a documentary-style PSA from AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign. With over 7.7 million views, it shares the real stories of people and families who have been impacted by texting and driving.
4. Liz Marks Texting & Driving Story
Views: 10.5 million | Published: April 25, 2014 |Publisher: USDOTNHTSA
The Liz Marks Texting & Driving Story tells the powerful story of a popular teenage girl whose life drastically changed after she read a text from her mom while driving and crashed. Sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the PSA has seen close to 10.5 million views.
3. The Try Guys Try Distracted Driving // Presented By Kia Forte
Views: 13.1 million | Published: November 4, 2016 | Publisher: BuzzFeedVideo
There are two general strategies you can take with online video. The first is to create and distribute a video on your own. The second is to team up with an influencer or media company that has a built-in audience. Kia Forte’s Try Guys Try Distracted Driving falls in the latter camp. With 13.1 million views, the video takes a humorous approach to increasing awareness around distracted driving. The Try Guys, Buzzfeed’s funny crew, see how various distractions impact their driving. They compete with each other to see who can stay most focused while behind the wheel. You’ll have to watch to see who wins.
2. The impossible texting & driving test
Views: 16.5 million | Published: April 27, 2012 | Publisher: RYDBELGIUM
Another funny video, The Impossible Texting and Driving Test, comes to us from Belgium and lands second place with 16.5 million views. Created by Publicis, The Responsible Young Drivers’ video shows a driving instructor forcing his students to drive distracted to pass their license test. The incredulous looks and frustration with just how difficult it is to drive distracted make this one a must-watch.
1. I’m a Textpert (Rap Battle)
Views: 17.4 million | Published: April 7, 2014 | Publisher: Rhett & Link
Rhett & Link are YouTube superstars and their I’m a Textpert lands the top spot on the list with 17.4 million views. The satirical rap music video drives home the message that if you’re texting, you’re not driving well. This video was created for the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It made YouTube’s list of Top 10 Ads in 2014.
Which video do you think works best to increase awareness around distracted driving? Let us know and shoot us a note on chat.