It would never happen.
I’m sure that’s what McCann was thinking until last night, Seattle time.
Metro Trains, the client for Dumb Ways to Die has sold the creative to a Canadian life insurance company. The catch phrase is now ” A dumb way to die is without life insurance”.
I’m sure you’re cursing this as much as I am. It’s a nasty, unethical cash grab.
One thing I had to remind myself was that Metro Trains is a private management company. They’re contracted by the Victorian government in Australia to run their metropolitan train network. Yes, Metro Trains is a for-profit company. Therefore, are we expecting too much for them to pass up the opportunity to make money off a PSA that has topped iTunes charts internationally, won a record number of Gold Lion awards, and launch a few successful mobile game? Oh, and meet its original goal of reducing incidents around trains.
We probably are. After all, Metro Trains exists to make money. Dumb Ways to Die gave them that opportunity.
What will be the result of the Dumb Ways to Die Sell Out?
At the very least agency/client contracts will gain an additional clause prohibiting any on-selling of the work. I’m not privy to McCann’s contract with Metro Trains, but knowing Metro Trains, the sale will be legal. I can also see agencies being less eager to push creativity if their work will be onsold and butchered. Let’s hope I’m wrong on that last count.
I kind of prefer if Metro Trains did sell their kidneys on the internet.