- Mazda, the Japanese car company whose U.S. sales fell 14.7% from a year earlier to 22,342 vehicles in June, started experimenting with an immersive full-screen takeover ad on Facebook that warns against scrolling through a smartphone screen while driving, The Drum reported.
- BBR Saatchi & Saatchi developed the "Distracted Driving" campaign that features the tagline "Don't Scroll and Drive." As a Facebook user scrolls through the app, a car suddenly skids down across the screen, followed by the sound of a crash as the screen appears to crack.
- In this campaign, Mazda enlists mobile takeover ads, which let advertisers create ads that look like traditional posts in a newsfeed. After the ad is clicked, a full-screen display ad covers the screen to feature images, text, videos or call-to-action buttons.
Mazda has made driving safety a theme after the U.S. Senate singled out the carmaker three years ago for broadcasting a Super Bowl ad that appeared to encourage distracted driving. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), former chairman of the Senate commerce committee, held an all-day summit in February 2014 to discuss the dangers of using modern technology while driving. Attendees viewed a commercial showing a driver using the Mazda Connect infotainment system to check his Facebook page while driving. Sen. Rockefeller warned Mazda and ad executives that he would propose legislation to regulate the use of technology while driving unless the industry developed better standards.
Mazda aims to address these concerns in its latest ad campaign. The takeover ad layout is much more likely to grab users' attention, as it generally involves moving parts and sound across the entire smartphone screen. However, the full-screen, immersive format is much more intrusive than most ads that use Facebook Canvas, which could lead to a frustrating experience for some users.
Distracted driving is still a problem that plagues the mobile industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 people injured in car crashes involving distracted drivers, although not all of those were attributed to cell phones. Approximately 660,000 drivers use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving at any given time during the day, a number that has held steady since 2010.