Branding | Content Marketing | Digital Marketing

Dumb Ways to Die: Digital Showcase & Viral Marketing Success

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It was 2012 and Melbourne Metro were in need of a creative agency to create a rail safety campaign. Traditionally these types of campaigns are in the form of educational safety displays, which unfortunately, do not always resonate and more often than not are seen as dull and overlooked by viewers. Engaging a creative agency. The beginning of the Dumb Ways To Day campaign.

To really get the public really engaged Melbourne Metro employed the services of McCann, the world’s largest and most acclaimed global agency to create a campaign, a campaign that would really get their rail safety message out there. And McCann delivered. It all started with a song; a simple but fun song titled Dumb Ways to Die!

A Creative Digital Marketing Showcase

The amusing lyrics included selling your kidneys on the internet, poking a grizzly bear and even or using one’s private parts as piranha bait! All stressing the fundamental message that being hit by a train is one of the dumbest ways to die! The song was then recorded by Tangerine Kitty and launched in November 2012 across multiple platforms including YouTube iTunes and radio. Within 24 hours the song “Dumb Ways to Die” had essentially gone viral and enter the iTunes top 10. The song became so popular that radio stations apparently staring playing the song for free, everybody wanted to hear it.

Enter the YouTube video, produced by C Darvall and animated by J Frost the Dumb Ways to Die video featured multiple fun looking and kooky looking characters such as Clod, Doomed, Numskull,  Numpty, Dimwit, Stupe, Hapless, Pillock, Dippy, Dummkopf, Lax, , Bungle, Mishap, Dunce, Calamity, Ninny, Botch and Doofus all being killed in the most dumbest of ways, that is until Stumble, Bonehead and Putz step in, or rather step out…in front of a train and this killed due to their unsafe behaviour. Within 72 hours the YouTube video was viewed more than 4.7 million times. By the two weeks mark the video had racked up more than 30 million views, even by 2020 standards that’s huge, so back in 2012 that number was beyond words. Dum ways to die was the mort shared video in 2012 and as of today, the video is close to 200 million views.

Additional Marketing Materials. The Future of Dumb Ways To Die.

As the song and video gained popularity the PSA then started adding additional marketing materials to further promote the campaign, such as posters and billboards and even a children’s book. They also created a website where users could ‘make the pledge’ and agree to their train safety message. Additionally, an App was built to further promote the campaign.

With all the talk of going viral and user engagement, its important to remember the reason for the campaign in the first place. In 2013 Brand News reported that Metro Trains recorded a 21% reduction in train station incidents, which is a positive sign that the campaign itself was truly successful.

With 200 million app downloads, 200 million video views and 3 billion distinctive game plays its no surprise that the Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards honoured “Dumb Ways to Die” with the title of best campaign of the decade.

“Dumb Ways to Die” certainly inspired other various safety campaigns, a fantastic result for a digital marketing agency.

The dumb ways to die song was created by the agency McCann for their Australian client, Metro Trains, to raise train safety awareness.

The song, dumb ways to die was written by John Mescall with music by Ollie McGill.

Set fire to your hair
Poke a stick at a grizzly bear
Eat medicine that’s out of date
Use your private parts as Piranha bait

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie
So many dumb ways to die

Get your toast out with a fork
Do your own electrical work
Teach your self how to fly
Eat a two-week-old unrefridgerated pie

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie
So many dumb ways to die

Invite a psycho killer inside
Scratch a drug dealer’s brand new ride
Take your helmet off in outer space
Use a clothes dryer as a hiding place

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie
So many dumb ways to die

Keep a rattle snake as a pet
Sell both your kidneys on the internet
Eat a tube of super glue
I wonder, what’s this red button do?

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie
So many dumb ways to die

Dress up like a moose during hunting season
Disturb a nest of wasps for no good reason
Stand on the edge of a train station platform
Drive around the boom gates at a level crossing
Run across the tracks between the platforms
They may not rhyme, but they’re quite possibly
Dumbest ways to die
The dumbest ways to die
Dumbest ways to die-ie-ie
So many dumb
So many dumb ways to die

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