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.
Here’s the second brilliant public service announcement communications that I’ve seen recently. If you missed the first post, here it is.
Teen drug use is a problem everywhere, but how do you reach this tricky audience. If audience is even the right word.
The City of Mercer Island has taken a creative approach. I don’t have results, but this would have hit the mark when I was 16.
These laminated signs are taped to picnic tables in a local park. I’m assuming that if I walked down there at night I’d find kids puffing away. Here’s hoping the FAQs convince the kids (play on their paranoia?) to stop and go home. At the least, the message is at least being put in front of the target. Not an easy feat with a tech-savvy, rebellious group.
Well done to the comms team for the City of Mercer Island.
This is the first of a couple of amazing public service announcement campaigns I’ve seen recently.
This was unaddressed mail, delivered via USPS. The kind of piece that I glance at and throw in the recycling. It’s a long time since I’ve seen good DM.
However, looking closer shows it’s an amazingly well executed PSA from AARP. It’s relevant information to help their audience and delivered so it will get in their hands. Before you say “but it’s a print piece!” think of THEIR audience: retirees.
Print has massive cut through for people home during the day. The same people who spent their lives able to believe all they are told, and only getting computers late in their careers. Gullible, but not intentionally so.
So this piece that looks like a scam, but educates on what a scam is becomes a brilliant piece of direct marketing. It gets a PSA to the right people at the right time. AND, these people will appreciate the information; building their trust in AARP.
One final criticism you may have. Why was it sent to an area that hits a 37 year old digital marketing manager? For where I live, 23.3% of the residents are 62 years or older.