Dumb Ways To Die

I LOVE this campaign from McCann for Metro Trains.

Such a refreshing insight (no walking wounded spinning cautionary tales about train safety), such a catchy, well-written tune, such engaging animation, such a shareable, watchable and re-watchable YouTube hit!

Here’s McCann’s John Mescall on the story and the strategy behind the video:

A lot of people think that ‘going viral’ is some totally random occurrence that you can neither plan for, nor anticipate. But while it’s true that you can never really be sure how successful you’re going to be, there are a few things you can do to at least maximise your chances of success.

Firstly, we had a good idea. That bit’s critical obviously. But this idea came from an absolute truth: trains are the most predictable things on earth, and to be brutally honest if you decide to walk across train tracks between the platforms and don’t see a train coming and get hit by it… well, it’s your own dumb fault.

It’s the fastest-spreading Australian branded video ever. It was under 10M views last night before I went to bed and it’s at 11M+ now, having been live for 6 days.

Metro Trains’ ‘Dumb ways to die’ cartoon is the fastest spreading Australian viral brand hit of all time, YouTube has confirmed.

The catchy three-minute video launched on Friday [16 November 2012], and has since registered (updated: 8m) views on YouTube [on 19 November 2012].

And a huge number of these views have been from mobile.

YouTube Australia’s Karen Stocks told Mumbrella that this video is unusual in the high number of views on people’s mobile devices.

She said: “The number of views on mobile devices has been staggering. Far more than we’ve seen in the past for other viral videos. Which could be explained by the rapid uptake of tablets in Australia.”

This is a campaign that has connected with its notoriously hard-to-reach Gen Y target by being honest, funny, cute, socially shareable (by virtue of the previous 3 points), and mobile-friendly.

And best of all, (although it might just be me), they’ve created a Tumblr filled with GIFs from the video:


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  1. PS –

    Dumb Ways to Die viral ‘leads to 20% drop in dumb behaviour at Melbourne train stations’

    Metro Trains has seen a 20% drop in “dumb behaviour” on train platforms in the Melbourne area in the two months since the launch of the popular Dumb Ways to Die safety video, the transport operator’s head marketer claimed last night.

    Speaking at Mumbrella’s Meet the Marketers session in the Victorian capital, Leah Waymark, general manager of corporate relations for Metro Trains, said that the three-minute cartoon – which has amassed 40m views since it launched in November – had prompted a sharp reduction in “risky or dumb behaviour”, such as walking or driving around boomgates.

    Incidences of safety near misses at stations have fallen 20% against the annual average, and are down 15% compared to this time last year, she later told Mumbrella.

    However, Waymark admitted that a risk of the musical safety ad is that it could “get into people’s heads” if played too often at train stations, and there was a need to move the campaign on into new areas.

    A push into schools will come next as Metro Trains looks to reinforce the message among young Victorians, she said. E-direct marketing, booklets, apps and games will be the areas in which the campaign looks to expand.

    Waymark also revealed that there had been “a lot of global commercial interest” in the viral, and Metro Trains was currently exploring these opportunities.

    The viral was created by Metro Trains’ ad agency McCann Melbourne.

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