The Western Cape government is right. #ItCanWait

Orchids and Onions: Reading messages and emails is asking for trouble.

You can talk until you’re blue in the face to people about drunken driving and texting while driving … but being South Africans, they’ll probably ignore you.

If you want to get the message across that using a phone to text or do e-mail while you’re driving can be deadly, then you’re going to need to use the old gut-punch technique.

That’s exactly what FCB Cape Town did for the Western Cape Government as part of its #ItCanWait campaign, which discourages texting and driving.

But there has been a little bit of humour added to take the edge off the grim. So, we see a collection of funny little scenes, which look as though they were captured on closed-circuit TV cameras, of people coming badly short while walking and looking down at the screens of their smartphones.

Two people collide on a pedestrian crossing and the woman’s phone gets shattered as it hits the tarmac; a man plunges into a pond; a woman walks into a door; and a man trips over boxes on the pavement.

We’ve all been there – even before the days of mobile phones, we all had moments when we were not paying attention and took a tumble.

The ad then poses the question: “if you can’t text when you walk” and fades into a scene in a car being driven by a young woman, who is driving and concentrating on her phone.

Suddenly, she loses control and the car rolls … It’s an explosive scene as objects and glass hurtle everywhere and she ends up still. It makes the point far better than any lecture could.

So, it gets Orchids for The Western Cape government and FCB Cape Town, as well as for director Jason Fielkov of Egg Films, who put the video together.

This next one’s not really an Onion, more an observation about unfortunate juxtapositioning. When we put newspapers together, the first thing we do is look at what we call a flat plan.

This is a schematic picture of what the next paper will look like. The ads are outlined, so you know what shape page you will have left and how you will have to adjust your design accordingly.

Sometimes, you can see what the ad is about but, quite often, as you are working on the page, you have no idea who the client is.

However, by the time you get to your front page, you should have an idea of what the ad looks like and who it is for.

There are those who would say that editorial and advertising have no connection whatsoever and that editorial should always put their pages together without worrying about what the ad says.

Sometimes, though, you do really need to look a bit closer, to avoid placing inappropriate or bizarre content alongside an ad.

The production staff of The Times obviously didn’t bother looking at the ad on their front page, which featured Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi saying “HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex!” as the first line in the #PhilaThursday Aids awareness campaign the department is running.

On top of the ad was an unfortunate “plug” box promoting a story inside the paper. “Mankind running out of sperm,” it said. No further comment necessary.

Peter Rollands writes: Agree totally with your Onion to Castle for its ridiculous “fat men” pool commercial. Totally unbelievable.

Another silly commercial in my mind is the Castle Lite spot with people running and jumping across icy buildings and tossing cans of frosty Castle Lite around. Open one of those just caught and you will have beer spraying everywhere. Very silly.

Fran Van Vuuren writes: You asked for our favourite ad. At the moment there is only one I don’t mute! It is the VW ad with the little girl singing her (off key) way through her school day, being greeted by her dad and they drive off in the car singing their heads off.

What’s your take on ads? Let me know: brendans@citizen.co.za

Citizen acting deputy editor Brendan Seery.

Citizen acting deputy editor Brendan Seery.



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