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10 Very good reasons why Metro Trains should NOT have approved ‘Dumb Ways to Die’-Kevin Moreland, AASM member

Did you know that this video for Melbourne’s Metro Trains, in just over two weeks, has achieved around 30 million views, making it the most successful viral video ever released in Australia?

Its main message and purpose is to raise awareness, and position people who take risks around rail crossings as, well, pretty dumb.

I reckon it’s a perfect example, given what we hear these days about the importance of creating great content, of how to generate ‘earned media’. One estimate puts the value of exposure for this video, so far, at around $50 million. Earned media is of course that bonus marketers receive when something is so good people feel compelled to share it, and voilà, that pesky problem of an almost non-existent media budget suddenly isn’t such a problem after all.

Dumb Ways to Die Campaign

The creative developed by McCann Melbourne should be applauded. Equally too, the client should receive whatever the marketers’ equivalent is of the Cross of Valour. The client was indeed very brave.

There is a very, very long list of reasons why this work may never have got up, or might have been changed to the point that it lost its unique story telling charm.

Here are my 10 reasons not to produce, or at least, change (to make better) Australia’s most successful viral video.

  1. It’s childish. Animation is just for kids.
  2. It will offend the families of those who have died as a result of (insert whichever cause of death from the video).
  3. It should use real people.
  4. It takes too long to get to the point – can we move the main message up earlier?
  5. I don’t think (insert any important stakeholder name) will like it.
  6. I don’t think people will share it. (“I wouldn’t, I’m not even on Facebook.”)
  7. It’s a big chunk of our budget. What if it doesn’t work?
  8. This is a serious subject. People will never go for humour.
  9. I spoke to our media agency and they reckon we should do a week of radio and some banner ads instead.
  10. So, you can’t guarantee how many people will see it?

Got any more reasons not to do it?

Kevin Moreland is Joint Managing Partner at BCM

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