Dumb ways to die or a great way to increase suicide?

Metro has let out a Youtube video, a cute, catchy song depicting dancing animated figures dying in ridiculous ways. It covers deaths from sticking a fork in a toaster to dressing up as a moose during hunting season.

In the last verse though, their message is clear, with the characters dying by being unsafe around trains (such as standing on the edge of a platform).

With over 17 million views to date, the video has gained a lot of exposure and has been dubbed the most successful viral ad in Australia’s history.

John Mescall, the brains behind the campaign says the high level of “shareability” is what makes the video a success.I can testify, I myself first saw it when my friend got it up on her phone to show a group of us. John says they are targeting “people who don’t want to hear a safety message and will reject it as it’s coming from an authority” which is why it’s so great the video is being shared through various social media, he says “they’re sharing it with their friends and that’s why we feel it’s really gonna work.”

The video began as metro staff all reporting incidents of dangerous behavior that was simply “dumb.” The idea was to create a campaign to stop this silly behavior.

McCann Worldgroup who created this ad definitely have done a great job in most aspects:

  • Portraying its message in an engaging way? Tick.
  • High level of viewings by the target public? Tick.
  • A message that will be remembered? Massive tick! (you won’t get it out of your head for days!)

My one concern is this; will this actually succeed in stopping people doing silly things? In a way, it takes a very important issue and brings it down to the level of “invite(ing) a psycho killer inside” Comparing these issues to silly little things that will never really happen almost takes away from the seriousness from the issue, and although the message is well and truly out in the world I’m not sure if it is strong enough to change the behavior of their target public.

Getting the message out there is a start however, and for an advertisement to create such social media buzz is a great success.

Although after seeing a few posts like this …. hopefully it does more good than bad!

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