David B sent me this wonderful video.  So simple but very powerful.  What do you think?


  1. Mobile use is the now the leading cause of death behind the wheel? Really? Where are the stats for that? We are in an era when most western countries are seeing reduced road fatalities yet there are are more mobiles than ever?

    I’d also like to know how they managed to get all the cinema-goers mobile details so they could send a message to them all and get them to check on it with the exact timing required so they’d have their heads down at the right moment. Also, don’t most movie-goers (at least the considerate ones) put their phones into silent mode when entering a cinema?

    A worthy enough cause, but I suspect more about VW marketing than anything else.

    Not that I’m a cynic.

    1. No, the video was filmed in Hong Kong, but if you look round all the newspapers and media it has been touted online everywhere. It has the classic hallmarks of being a corporate viral. Associating a company with a worthy cause like this is a classic way of improving corporate images.

      In any case, it’s clearly staged and, whilst I would support the message, I do not approve of outright lies when it comes to statistics. Nowhere can I find any credible evidence that use of mobiles is the leading cause of deaths behind the wheel.

      Also, looking online I see that there is a vague claim that there was some locality-based texting used, but such technology (used for advertising) doesn’t work in a way that would allow this video to be produced.

    2. “it’s clearly staged”

      Round of applause for Poirot there. Do you think other adverts are simply the result of a series of random, natural events?

  2. Having nearly had a very bad collision with someone who was using a mobile phone at their wheel, I am all in favour of any stunt that makes people aware of the danger! The stats are not the important issue, death, injury and damage are.

  3. Mr. Steve Jones: the technology used to broadcast a text message to many people based on location rather than phone number is called Cell Broadcast. It has some requirements, of which it is likely many cell phones meet them out of the box.

    Getting people to look at their phone rather than the screen is applied psychology and sociology. It plays on people’s fear that they might miss something important. Know that a lot of young folk act out their entire social life through their phone. This also explains why they didn’t turn their phones silent.

    Now the stunt still can be fake and part of an ad campaign by VW… but part of your reasoning for such an assumption has just been debunked.

    1. Cell-based texting (insofar as you can use it) would not discriminate sufficiently to only text people in a cinema. Also, only the cellular phone operators would know which phones are in the area anyway, and it would require all the operators’ cooperation.

      Yes, there are locality-based advertising services, but they don’t work this way and require a degree of, at least, implicit agreement or else we would be swamped by unsolicited texts whenever we went in a shopping mall.

      Also, it’s highly improbably that almost everybody would leave their phone turned on in a cinema. That’s not to mention the statistic is wrong (there’s no credible reasearch showing that use of mobile devices is the primary cause of deaths behind the wheel).

      A clear case of VW doing some corporate image manipulation on the back of what is an obviously worthy cause. It’s been released to the media to gain publicity (and clearly succeeded).

      Of course the most obvious way of getting a load of mobile numbers to produce a mass text at a site is simply to offer some inducement (a prize draw maybe?). Much easier than some doubtful technology.

    2. I guess the fact that the video has had over 13.5 million Youtube views and has generated countless discussions such as these is precisely what VW wanted. So kudos to them.

      Like you did Steve, I went online and in my view this would appear to be a genuine set-up involving unknowing people and not some fake show-piece.

      I work for Nokia and before that at Samsung and can confirm that the Cell Broadcast technology is real. On most phones the default setting is ‘On’. You have to go into the settings to disable this. If you look closely at the video, you will see only a proportion of the audience were prompted to look at the phone. The remainder probably had their phone switched off or CB disabled.

      And by the way, in the extreme event of a national or global emergency, Governments have the power to request the telcos to override the entire cellular system and send emergency messages regardless of whether your phones settings are disabled or in airplane mode and even if your phone is switched off. Yes, they can remotely switch on your mobile.

      So in the scheme of things, this has a conspiracy theory score of ZERO. I suggest that we concentrate on subjects more useful such as Kennedy’s assassination, the Loch Ness monster, Princess Diana’s death, Moon Landings, Area 51, Zippy from Rainbow etc etc (yawn)

  4. Pretty dramatic dramatization. Powerful message.
    I see plenty of distracted drivers using their phones in the Washington DC area – where mobile use is actually illegal while driving.

  5. Should’ve put a warning on this, Richard. I was watching it on my phone and nearly drove into the car in front of me.

  6. While the video is interesting, it doesn’t really prove anything.
    None of the folks who’s phones were ringing were actually holding a steering wheel and driving. Therefore there was no reason for them not to hesitate to check their ringing phone.

    I’ve had the situation before of phone ringing while driving. The first thing I do is assess the road situation to determine if there is time/space to answer the call. None of that decision making was required for the individuals filmed.

    1. Unfortunately there are pillock drivers out there who check their phones for Facebook updates, send or receive texts etc etc such is their desperation not to be cut off from social media for more than 30 seconds at any one time.

      Its the same obsession that you see on flights. The plane has barely landed and has not even come to a stop and the cabin resonates with tweets, beeps and chirrups as the passengers collectively switch on their life-supports.

      Oh dear, I’m beginning to sound like a Grumpy Old Git ….

    2. “I’ve had the situation before of phone ringing while driving. The first thing I do is assess the road situation to determine if there is time/space to answer the call.”

      If you’re driving, there isn’t. You’re exactly the sort of idiot this film is aimed at.

    3. @larry .. I hope that my decisions in the future are enough to not have an accident. Distractions are part of driving. Whether it be passengers making noise (or talking to you), incidents happening outside of your vehicle, or incidents happening with your vehicle (flat tire, radio program that is overly interesting). It’s how you handle them and the choices you make as the result of them.
      As I point out, there was no decision to be made by the movie goers prior to answering the phone. They were there to watch the movie, and since they were not actually driving or doing something that required their full attention, there was no requirement for them to think before they answered their phone.
      btw. thanks for the personal attack. I think the video is for the “idiot” who needs to think before they act, regardless of the situation.

    1. @ChrisR

      Yes. These are Children’s Riddles rather than Friday Puzzles.

      The usual riddle responses are Once and Me. Yet undoubtably some will want to add complex wordplay analysises and come up with more elaborate answers.

    2. Yet undoubtably [sic] some will want to add complex wordplay analysises [sic] and come up with more elaborate answers.

      Something you’ve never done yourself, of course.

      Pretty sure that you can take the number 2 away from the number 50 as often as you wish.

    3. Wake me up when Richard posts a Friday Puzzle that requires some brainpower…
      I’m sure they’ve got easier over the past couple of months – it would be nice to have one that either (a) you haven’t encountered before (the bus driver one’s been doing the rounds for decades and only works if you start doing the calculations before reading the entire problem), (b) can’t be solved with either the most basic application of logic (e.g. 50-2) or 30 seconds in Excel (e.g. 45/54 – for those too lazy to have fun with simultaneous equations).

    4. @Simon

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment. Your response shows how much considered comment is needed on this blog.

      These are not complicated questions in discreet integer logarithms or transport logistics. They are simple questions with simple answers.

      The one thing we can learn from this blog (especially those who prefer to show of proof reading skills rather than problem solving ones) is that it always asks for YOUR answer not “the” answer.

      My answer to the bus must be me. Your answer may vary but it is likely to be valid provided you have answered the question on the blog not the one in your head.

      The subtraction question is even straight-forwarder. Much the same as if the question was “how many times can you take the top off an unopened bottle?”.

      We must avoid offering explanations that sew confusion rather clarity. Think twice, post once as the internet meme suggests.

    5. Barry, I looked up “self-parody” in The Illustrated Dictionary” and it had a picture of your ugly mug next to the description.

      I can’t fathom what small gratification you give yourself from trolling this blog but I would’ve thought that you would’ve grown beyond that puerile behaviour by now.

    6. Oh dear Simon. Barry points out that you are wrong, and your response is to launch a personal attack. Very mature….

    7. Well done, brave anonymous person. I take it that you’re referring to Barry’s incorrect analogy with the bottle. “The number fifty” is a concept not a specific object. Here, let me demonstrate subtracting the number two from the number fifty, three times in a row for you:

      50 – 2 = 48
      50 – 2 = 48
      50 – 2 = 48

    8. @Simon

      As Anon says it is time for you to apologise. If you take 2 away from 50 you no longer have 50. You could get another 50 and try again (just as we could get another unopened bottle) but the 50 you started with is now 48. That is simple arithmetic.

      I understand the need for some people to overcomplicate and overthink these puzzles. Your contributions Steve do tend to fall into those catagories.

      Just read the questions with an open mind. Think clearly about them rather than attempt to play word and mind games. Then the answer will be clear and simple.

      Steve: I appreciate you coming here to learn. If you lean this lesson then perhaps all will be well in the future. I am happy to continue assisting you.

    9. Hah, what a joke. Is this the same Barry Goddard who said that -54 was one-fifth greater than -45? What about the Barry Goddard who said that someone who was 17 could be 19 a mere 2 days later? Or maybe you’re the Barry Goddard who said that the Heartbleed exploit was in the Microsoft Random Number Generator or any of the other mistaken/confused Barry Goddards?

      You’ve been shown to be more often wrong than right, Barry, but I don’t expect you to admit it.

    10. Barry
      You would not believe how much we love you.
      We are always very keen to help you in any way that we can.
      Someone’s suggested to us that you might want to investigate narcissism.
      We are humble mortals and have no idea what this means (nancyism, that is) – but if it helps you understand to what extent you are a divine being please fill your boots.
      By the way, have you noticed that the most interesting comments on this blog, those from the creme de la creme substitute, generally go on for ages, whereas the utterings of the ignorant, who can not get their soi disant “thoughts” together are relatively brief.
      Yours moistly
      PS Please let us mere mortals know about this narcissism thing when you have found out about it.
      PPS You are such a cool dude – you are even better than Tony Blair

    11. @Barry Goddard Fan Club

      Thank you for your support.

      Kind words are a balm on the internet. Yet they are few and far between.

      The harsh commentators drive away those of us who genuinely wish to contribute to the discussions. Your thoughts remind me that the internet is made up of more than just those hash commentators.

      Moreso also than those who post using my name and thus create confusion and seek to sew dissent.

      Yet please do not be a “fan club”. Please instead seek to emulate what I try to accomplish. Post words of kindness and insight wheresoever you may to help bring clarity and caring to this wondrous world web of ours.

    12. @Barry Goddard Fan Club – mate that’s hilarious. You give Barry a stick with dog shit on the end and he hits himself over the head with it. Highly entertaining.

    1. The driver’s name is Barry Goddard?. I would never have gotten that in a million years
      Barry make sure you have your mobile phone switched off whilst you are driving.

  7. The bus puzzle fails to appreciate that I do not have a Driver CPC qualification or the appropriate class of license to drive this vehicle. Therefore I will now be arrested and charged with an offence under the Road Traffic Act. Thanks for nothing Richard.

    1. To assist those who do not speak German, the gist of what Fabio is saying is that Barry Goddard is a world class twat.

  8. Please note that the whole Internet will be read-only next week end, in order to avoid Friday Puzzle spoilers.

    1. Ha if only that were true. Somehow I think that a certain annoying person will still find a way to spoil it for everyone else.

  9. I used to be diagnosed with it just some decades in the past. I might placed on all around forty lbs . above the training course of two decades without a great deal explanation and was sensation pretty lethargic, so I made a decision to get my blood examined. I’m at the moment on 125mcg of Levothyroxine. The docs advised me to stay gluten-free, sugar-free and starch-free. I did that for your yr and saw small lida daidaihua uk. I then switched towards the tried-and-true strategy – calorie counting and workout. I absolutely ditched remaining gluten-free, even though I do retain my carbs reduced and my protein high. I’m down 16 kilos with the 40 I might choose to reduce.

  10. Oh no! I are not able to make it and I’m so sad! I really want to go although the girls are throwing me a going away party that night at Angie’s. And that i need so much clothes for my new job. So bummed. Anyhow, have a blast and i would go along with the dress its fab! XOXO

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