Being from Melbourne, Australia, I keep a cursory eye on Australian campaigns. That, along with my facebook feed being a mix of Australians and Americans meant I was surprised when I first heard of Dumb Ways to Die from a colleague here in Seattle. It’s a train safety campaign for Metro, created by McCann Worldgroup Australia.
Even while the campaign’s awards were piling up, nothing appeared in my facebook feed. I started questioning the campaign’s effectiveness. Surely it was more than a catchy jingle.
Last week I was in Melbourne (the home of Metro) and discovered why. The people it resonated with are too young for facebook. An eleven year-old has the app on her iPod and offered to let me play it (it’s not in the US iTunes store). I asked a four year-old which was his favorite character and he quoted the entire line of the character crossing the tracks.
Accompanying the youtube video (above) and game was a picture book, mural walls at major stations encouraging people to take photos with the characters, karaoke screens on station platforms, posters, a paid radio campaign and the song on iTunes internationally. All were driving viewers to pledge to act safe around trains.
Even though the video went viral and the song shot up the iTunes charts, was the campaign a success? Yes, it was. A 21% reduction in train-related accidents accidents and deaths was recorded on the previous year. Without that result, it doesn’t matter how many radio stations played the song or photos were shared on Instagram, the goals wouldn’t have been met.
Congratulations and well done to Metro and McCann Worldgroup Australia. But, may I please have a plushy of the character who sold his kidneys on the internet? He’s adorable. I’ll send you my address.
One of my favorite things about the internet is that it breaks down geographic barriers. About 80-100 people attended last week’s Social Media Club gathering in San Francisco. Another 780 watched via Ustream.Side note: Melbourne has just launched a Social Media Club. Check it out here.
It’s a week now since my secret is no longer a secret.Well, to be honest, most of you knew the secret and I appreciate the lengths you went to so I could still surprise my parents. Especially those who’ve known since May.So for the one or two in the world who don’t know, I moved from Melbourne, Australia to San Francisco, US last week.Yep, it’s a big move but I’m loving it so far. I’m living in an apartment near the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, met some awesome people and literally having the time of my life.There have been a few surprises (like the largest note in an ATM being $20 – WTF?) but on the whole it’s not that much different from Melbourne.
Has anyone else seen this? It’s on the side of a building in King St Melbourne. I saw it late Sunday when the sun was coming the other direction, so can’t be a trick of the light. Is it street art or a cryptic piece of advertising?If anyone knows, please let me in on the secret.
I know you are thinking what do public relations and musical theatre have in common? The answer is when it comes to the prequel/parallel story of the Wizard of Oz a lot.For those who don’t know the Wicked story, it tells of Elphaba’s (the Wicked Witch) life. It starts with her being born green and goes on to catch up to Dorothy’s time in Oz. All from the witch’s point of viewand shows that the happenings in Oz were not as clear cut as we were told in the Wizard of Oz.Still, how does this relate to public relations?Madame Morrible, a character new to Wicked is the connection. We first meet her as a college head mistress at Shiz University (which Elphaba attends), but learn her true role is the press agent for the Wizard of Oz. This is where the public relations comes in. We see that Madame Morrible is an old school press agent. Hide the truth, manipulate people to achieve her aims – the full deal. So much of this story, and that we loved in the Wizard of Oz, all came about because of Madame Morrible’s actions, and we learn they are rarely for good.Without giving away too much, all ends well-ish, confirming ”truth is the new lie”.The musical theatre version of Wicked is currently playing in Melbourne, Australia and I thoroughly recommend seeing it. The story is compelling and the songs and production are absolutely amazing. Just a word of warning, the soundtrack will be stuck in your head for at least week after – but it’s so good it is worth it