Alex Haigh, 23, a graduate student at Melbourne University and an intern at the McCann advertising agency, convinced his bosses to help him create ads to be placed in cafes, on public transportation and elsewhere, combating "phubbing" -- or cellphone snubbing.
The ads show people ignoring friends or loved ones to instead gaze into the glare of a cellphone.
"It has exploded. I've spoken to the BBC, people in Shanghai are making contact ... the BBC was receiving 10 tweets a minute on the topic yesterday morning," Haigh told The (Melbourne) Herald Sun.
Haigh's "Stop Phubbing" campaign encourages snubbed victims to take pictures of the offending phubbers and place them on social media as a sort of public shaming.
The ads contain slogans such as "respect the food, the music and the company you are in," and "leave your phone in your pocket and have a chat in the real world."