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Non-Traditional
Public Service/Social Welfare Campaign

Gold Winner


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Entrant: McCann Melbourne, Melbourne
Metro Trains
"Dumb Ways to Die Campaign",
"Dumb Ways To Die"
  • Corporate Name of Client:
    Metro Trains
  • Client Account Director:
    Alec Hussian
  • Planner:
    Adrian Mills
  • Agency Account Director:
    Adrian Mills
  • Advertiser's Supervisor:
    Chloe Alsop
  • Agency:
    McCann Melbourne , Melbourne
  • Executive Creative Director:
    John Mescall
  • Creative Director:
    Pat Baron
  • Copywriter:
    John Mescall
  • Art Director:
    Pat Baron
  • Illustrator:
    Julian Frost
  • Typographer:
    Pat Baron
  • Agency Producers:
    Mark Bradley
    Cinnamon Darval
  • Director:
    Julian Frost
  • Animator:
    Julian Frost
  • Developer:
    Sam Baird
  • Description of the Project:
  • Accidents and deaths among young people on Melbourne’s Metro train system had been on the rise for years. Our brief was to get the idea of train safety on the agenda for an audience of 13-25-year-olds, and reduce the amount of accidents on the system by 10%. The problem is, young people don’t listen to public safety messages. At best they ignore them. At worst, they act against them. If it looks or feels like an ad they’ll ignore it, and they certainly won’t share it with their peers. Our strategy was to embed our safety message within content of such high quality, it would be accepted, shared (and even purchased) as legitimate entertainment by our audience. And only then, would we introduce paid media channels into the mix. The idea: being unsafe around trains is the dumbest way to die. And so we wrote a song about just that.
    It was vital that this campaign felt like content, not like advertising. A radically different media approach was required. On day 1, the song was released onto the iTunes music store and the music video onto YouTube. Because iTunes is not an advertising medium, the song and video received instant credibility and acceptance amongst our target audience. The other key launch media channel was tumblr, another medium under-utilised by advertisers. Again, selective use of non-advertising mediums ensured that people’s first exposure to our campaign message was as content, not as advertising. The YouTube video directed people to our website, tumblr site, the iTunes music store and Soundcloud. After two weeks, the first paid advertising was introduced: Transit, radio, press, out of home. By this stage, the message had widespread acceptance among youth, and our paid media components – rather than being rejected – were now actively being sought out and enjoyed.
    The video is now approaching 60 million YouTube views. It is the 3rd most shared ad in history. The song charted on iTunes in 28 countries and is still getting airplay on radio stations worldwide. We turned iTunes into a media channel. Nearly 1 million people pledged to be safe around trains. In post-testing, 39% said they would act safer around trains. For the three months post-launch, Metro has experienced a 20% reduction in accidents and deaths compared to the same time last year. The goal was 10%. Earned media US $60m and rising. And rail safety is now part of the conversation.