Cow (public service announcement)

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Cow, also titled Only Stwpd Cowz Txt N Drive,[1] is a 30-minute public service announcement film directed by Peter Watkins-Hughes with assistance from Gwent Police and Tredegar Comprehensive School.[2] The August 2009 film was a co-production by Gwent Police and Tred Films, with special effects by Zipline Creative Limited.[3] The film features original music by Stuart Fox, a composer and sound designer from Gloucester UK.[4] A previous film, "Lucky Luke," was intended to warn about the dangers of joy riding; "Cow" was intended to be a sequel of sorts.[5]

The film, using local drama students as actors, tells the story of 17-year-old Cassie "Cow" Cowan (Jenny Davies), who texts and drives and gets into a car accident; her friends Emm and Jules (Amy Ingram and Laura Quantick) are in the vehicle with her.[5] Four people die as a result of Cassie's actions.[2] The police intended for the film to be aired in British schools.[5]

The police agency said that it took a "few thousand pounds" to make the film.[6] 300 drama students auditioned for the making of the film.[7]

The full PSA is shown to students in the United Kingdom.[8] As of 2009 the PSA had not been aired on television stations in the United States.[7] In 2010 a modified 30-second version of the public service announcement was to begin airing during certain hours in 13 television stations in central and upstate South Carolina.[9]


Cassie "Cow" Cowan, Emma "Emm" Williams, and Jules O'Shea, three teenage friends who work at the same hardware shop, agree to leave work early in order to cheer up Jules, who threw up on duty after discovering that she was pregnant. On the way home, Cassie texts while driving and her car drifts across the road and collides head-on with another. Emma and Jules are killed along with the drivers of the other cars that Cassie hits.

The rest of the film depicts the accident's aftermath and consequences. The police break the news to bereaved relatives. Cassie herself almost dies in hospital but is revived. When a local paper reports that she was breathalyzed shortly before the accident, her parents are ostracised by the local community (she was stopped by the police for speeding, but passed the test). Jules' boyfriend Morgan appears on television to express his grief about the death of their unborn baby, although she has now been dumped because of the pregnancy. Eventually, despite her mother's reassurances, Cassie is sentenced to seven years imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving.


The clip of the public service announcement received worldwide attention, and the clip received over one million views on YouTube by 25 August 2009.[10] The video received attention due to the graphic content.[8] The film earned honours in the Advertising Age's weekly Creativity Top 5 video.[11] and became an overnight worldwide internet hit after being shown on the US The Today Show television show.[12]

Donny Deutsch, an advertising executive, said "I will show this to every kid I know, and I salute the police department" and "I would really implore various local stations: Run this stuff, put this on the air. It will help."[7] Mick Giannasi, the then chief constable of Gwent Police, said "The messages contained in the film are as relevant to the people of Tennessee as they are to the residents of Tredegar."[13] He also said "Texting and driving can have tragic consequences, and the more this film is viewed, the better."[7]


  • Jenny Davies - Cassie "Cow" Cowan[1]
  • Amy Ingram - Emma "Emm" Williams[1]
  • Laura Quantick - Jules O'Shea[1]
  • Roger Evans - Michael Cowan[1]
  • Adrienne O'Sullivan - Laura Cowan[1]
  • Phylip Harries - Mr. Williams[1]
  • Jason May - Mr. O'Shea[1]
  • Gareth Price Stevens - Morgan Davis[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Only Stwpd Cowz Txt N Drive". BBC Three (online). Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b Brindley, Madeleine. "Graphic film about dangers of texting is internet hit." Western Mail. 26 August 2009. Retrieved on 18 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Past Work." Zipline Creative. Retrieved on 19 August 2010.
  4. ^ "'Cow’ (Only Stwpd Cowz Txt n Drive)" at
  5. ^ a b c "COW - The film that will stop you txting and driving". Gwent Police. Archived from the original on 2010-07-22. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  6. ^ Smith, Graham. "Made in Britain for just a few thousand pounds: The graphic road safety film that's taken the world by storm." Mail Online. 4 September 2009. Retrieved on 18 August 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d Inbar, Michael. "Is PSA about texting while driving too graphic?" The Today Show. 25 August 2009. Retrieved on 18 August 2010.
  8. ^ a b Scouten, Ted. "British Texting While Driving PSA Shocks & Sickens." CBS 4. 25 August 2009. Retrieved on 18 August 2010.
  9. ^ Olinger, Heather. "Graphic: Texting while driving PSA to run in SC Archived 28 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.." WCBD. 14 May 2010. Retrieved on 19 August 2010.
  10. ^ Matyszczyk, Chris. "Is PSA on texting and driving too shocking?" CNET. 25 August 2009. Retrieved on 18 August 2010.
  11. ^ "Creativity Top 5: 24 August 2009". Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  12. ^ "Graphic film about dangers of texting is internet hit"at
  13. ^ Morris, Steven. "Made in Gwent with £10,000: the road safety video taking YouTube by storm." The Guardian. Thursday 3 September 2009. Retrieved on 18 August 2010.

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