There was a presentation at our school about texting and driving. It was held by AT&T, a cell phone company. Would it be considered ironic that a cell phone company is talking about the dangers of texting and driving?

If so, which type of irony is this?

  • 1
    Do as I say, not as I do. Sep 21, 2014 at 22:11
  • 5
    That’s exactly like asking whether it would be “ironic” for a distillery representative to warn against the dangers of fatal alcohol poisoning to a room full of incurable addicts. The answer is no, of course not. It’s not irony at all; it’s just good business sense. Dead kids are a bad hit on his bottom line because they miss out on a lifetime of buying Jack Daniels from him. Or texting service.
    – tchrist
    Sep 22, 2014 at 4:10
  • it's not ironic at all. it could be that they are being "two-faced". so, they are "pretending" to care about text-driving, but really, after the meeting all the executives snicker and say amongst themselves "heh heh, thank goodness we make so much money from text-driving!" (note that with say "environmental issues" I believe this is usually called "greenwashing" - when a company basically lies and pretends to be pro-some-issue, in that case re "the environment".)
    – Fattie
    Sep 22, 2014 at 5:02
  • On the subject of irony, this is quite a good example of what is and isn't ironic: youtube.com/watch?v=32LCwZFoKio - although the meta-irony of a song called Ironic filled with not-actually-ironic examples is not lost on me... :)
    – Tim B
    Sep 22, 2014 at 8:13
  • What's actually ironic (or at least slightly closer to it) is that the reason the phone companies are there promoting these "don't text and drive initiatives" is often because they struck a deal with local governments to do the presentations in exchange for said governments not passing laws outlawing cell phone use while driving a car. These kinds of deals are extremely common between the cell companies and state and local governments.
    – Mordred
    Sep 22, 2014 at 17:33

4 Answers 4


I wouldn't consider that irony. Here's a comparison that may illustrate the difference:

  • If Bob, a representative of AT&T, tells you not to text and drive, that isn't ironic. It's actually pretty responsible.

  • If Bob tells you not to text and drive, and then, while driving away from the presentation venue, gets into a car accident because he was texting while driving, that's a little closer. But it's still not quite irony, just hypocrisy on Bob's part.

  • If Bob erects a neon billboard warning people not to text and drive, but the billboard is so distracting that it increases the number of vehicle accidents people get into, that's irony! (And possibly also tragicomedic.)

  • 3
    The perfect answer. This answer is so good it is a platonic answer!
    – Fattie
    Sep 22, 2014 at 5:03
  • You should be a College Humor or Cracked writer youtube.com/watch?v=EwIB51mGil8
    – Adi
    Sep 22, 2014 at 7:00
  • 2
    So what happened to Bob? Sep 22, 2014 at 11:57
  • 4
    What if, while driving away, Bob tweets you a link to download his presentation files...
    – aslum
    Sep 22, 2014 at 14:18

I would say it's not at all ironic.

The only way you could call it ironic, is if it's apparent that cell phone companies are there to encourage people to text and drive.

However, this example is a cell phone company teaching their consumers how to use the product safely. It would be similar to a gun company teaching people gun safety, it's not ironic, it's appropriate.

Irony, would be a cigarette company teaching people how to eat healthily (because the cigarette company's products are inherently unhealthy) or a car company sponsoring a cycle race (because cycling is a competitor to the company's product).


A company gave a presentation at our school about texting and driving. Ironically, the CEO of said company was arrested last week after crashing his car into the very same school while sending a text message about the upcoming presentation to a subordinate who was due to give the presentation.

  • 6
    Now that, I must say, is irony for you.
    – tchrist
    Sep 22, 2014 at 1:31

Not at all ironic. Akin to alcohol companies telling you not to drink and drive.

There is a time and place for texting, and I applaud them for having such awareness of their product.

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