Toyota’s ‘don’t shoot and drive’ Instagram goes viral

Instagram image warning against taking ‘selfies’ while driving zooms to worldwide PR success. Now what?

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Demetris Melanthiou will no doubt be disappointed to learn that once, while distracted, I sped off the highway when I lived in his homeland of Cyprus.

Melanthiou is Toyota’s marketing manager for the eastern Mediterranean island, and he is responsible for “don’t shoot and drive,” a viral Instagram image that teaches the dangers of photographing oneself at the wheel.

Though I wasn’t photographing myself when I had my accident, his public safety messaging caught my eye as an example of what Instagram and other platforms can do to create worldwide buzz. What started out as a local campaign is again proving the power of social media in marketing and communications.

“It was never our intention to go global,” Melanthiou says, “but this was what we achieved.”

(My accident? Well, see, it was a rainy day. I was helpfully advising my wife to fasten her seatbelt properly as I sped down Cyprus’ A1 highway. Next thing I knew, we were skidding along up to our axles in mud. Luckily, no one was hurt.)

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