A powerful public service announcement about the dangers of texting and driving is reaching people around the world – and it was filmed right here in Augusta.
The spot, a partnership between News Channel 6 and a local business, was shot by TranterGrey Media in Evans.
“I’m amazed,” said Blane Bailey of TranterGrey. “This is my first foray into something going viral that we’ve done.”
“We really had no idea that it would take off this way,” said VP Rhett Bailey. “We thought we were gonna be traveling to high schools in the area, and showing a couple of kids.”
But since the PSA aired, it’s reached millions of people of all ages — thanks in large part to the power of social media.
News Channel 6 has received countless phone calls, social media messages and e-mails from people all over the world, asking how they can watch it again – and share it.
More than one million shares on Facebook and thousands of YouTube hits later, the PSA’s actors – both from Augusta – still can’t believe the spot’s success.
“I was very surprised that it has so many shares,” said Antonia Gentry, a Davidson student who plays the young driver in the spot.
“It amazes me, truly,” said Davina Key Strickland, who appears in the PSA as a mother.
Strickland, an owner at A&D Carpets in Martinez, was recruited at the last minute for the spot – she didn’t even see the script until the night before.
“When they told me what the message was, I totally jumped on it,” she said.
The entire public service announcement was filmed in just one day.
The concept was inspired by a similar PSA about speeding, which was shot in New Zealand.
TranterGrey says putting together the texting and driving spot was a creative, collaborative process.
“It really is an important message,” said Gentry. “If any difference can be made, I really feel honored to be a part of it.”
Watch the PSA by clicking here.