In 2010, AT&T launched their “It Can Wait” campaign to encourage drivers to put their phones away while behind the wheel. It is a huge danger to text and drive, and it has caused many unnecessary deaths. Since its launch, “It Can Wait” produced many commercials and short films, interviewing people who were in accidents due to texting and driving, and those who have lost loved one from it. AT&T has had over 24 million people sign a pledge that said they will not text and drive. This campaign is making a huge difference by informing people of the dangers of texting and driving, but also by giving a platform for activists to speak out.
However, I was recently watching a show on Hulu, and this campaign took their message to the next level, and it is massively unethical. AT&T took two people who died in car accidents induced by texting and driving and recreated what they would have looked like today. This alone is not concerning, but they had the two people speak about what they would have been doing with their lives. The CGI versions of Caleb Sorohan and Forrest Cepeda spoke about their dream jobs, hobbies, and even their love lives.
Sorohan’s CGI look-alike said, “Maybe I’d be married to that girl I was hanging out with Freshman year. She’s married with a baby now.”
While AT&T did get permission from and worked closely with the families, this is taking it too far. The words that Sorohan and Cepeda say are not their own. Their thoughts are not their own. AT&T claims this is real and that their stories are being told in their own words, but it is far from reality. It is important to hear the stories of these two young men, but it does not need to come from virtual resurrections of them; their families’ stories are more than enough to shed light on the topic.
To see the commercial and some behind the scenes of how the commercial was created, there is a link below.