Dumb Ways To Die
McCann Melbourne’s client, Metro Trains, challenged the agency to engage at-risk young people who were most likely to become injured in or near a Metro Train station.
Capture the attention of young people
The client asked the agency to ensure that young people paid attention to, and hopefully then talked about, a safety message. The agency designed "Dumb Ways to Die" so that it would be instantly likeable, and importantly, shareable.
Create a social media storm of attention
First, McCann Melbourne created a music video that was funny, irreverent and that featured a very catchy theme song, designed to inspire sharing. Next, Melbourne leaked the campaign to a trusted journalist to seed a positive story idea: that McCann is pushing boundaries rather than sticking to tired, safe formulas. The press release was issued in Australia, Asia Pacific and global creative distribution on Friday, November 16, 2012.
The agency understood that early adopters would be key to success, so we amplified shareability by creating .gifs from the video animation and shared them via Tumblr. The creatives believe this was the main reason DWTD made Reddit’s front page over the launch weekend. After writing the first comment on the YouTube video, which provided the links to buy the song on iTunes or listen/download via Soundcloud, McCann Melbourne resisted the usual temptation to talk about the campaign in the media, on its social media channels, or through its press relations. The agency did not engage in the online commentary in any way and have continued to be entirely non-interventional. This freedom has allowed people to create multiple translations that have facilitated growth throughout Asia, Europe and South America.
McCann Melbourne is hyper-conscious about maintaining the dignity and integrity of the campaign, and the agency has therefore rejected any initiative that may create a perception that McCann is trying to monetize the campaign, or its elements.
A global cultural phenomenon
"Dumb Ways To Die" is the most awarded campaign in the 60-year history of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. At Cannes 2013, "Dumb Ways To Die" won five Grand Prix Lions, the highest honor awarded at the festival, as well as 18 Gold Lions, 3 Silver Lions and 2 Bronze Lions.
At The Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity in Singapore, McCann Melbourne was named "Agency Of The Year.” And, “Dumb Ways to Die”was the most awarded campaign and Metro Trains Melbourne was named “Advertiser of the Year”.
The campaign won seven Webby Awards in 2013, including the Best Animation Film & Video and Best Public Service & Activism (Social Content & Marketing).
The PSA was awarded the Grand Trophy in the 2013 New York Festivals International Advertising Awards. "Dumb Ways To Die" won 'Best of Show' at One Show in New York.
Within 24 hours of its launch on 16 November 2012, the "Dumb Ways to Die" song reached the top 10 chart of iTunes and was ranked number six on the singer/songwriter category on the global iTunes chart just 48 hours later.
The video has now amassed close to 57 million views and 3.8 million shares. In July 2013, Dumb Ways to Die was still the fourth most shared ad of the month. Supported by an integrated advertising campaign, it spawned a plethora of global parodies and spin-offs with over 30 million combined views, attracting massive global media attention for Metro Trains and its safety message.
The game app has climbed to number 1 in 17 countries including the US, UK, Canada and Australia, with over 14 million downloads across 135 countries, making it the world’s top iTunes app.
According to Metro Trains, the campaign contributed to a more than 30% reduction in "near-miss" accidents, from 13.29 near misses per million kilometres in from November 2011 to January 2012, to 9.17 near-misses per million kilometres from November 2012 to January 2013.
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