I am a big fan of Metro’s DumbWays2Die campaign. In my opinion, this is an example of great marketing. If it has somehow passed you by, here is the link to the Youtube clip.
Clear objectives lead to success
The objectives of this campaign are obvious: to communicate rail safety messages and cut the number of avoidable deaths on the Metro network. This campaign has avoided the parent to child approach often used for ‘public service’ education campaigns, and approached the objective in such an unexpected way that it has undoubtedly got the message across. With over 44 million views on YouTube and 300 tweets it has been a viral hit, communicating the rail safety message to more people than they could have imagined.
Infotainment at its best
The success of this campaign is due to the clever mix of humour, music, video and illustration to get information across in an entertaining way. The slightly retro feel will appeal to an older generation, whilst the primary colours appeal to the youngest of viewers. The quirky gore is right on the button for the inbetweeners. All in all, it cuts through our expectations of what a public service message would be like.
The campaign launched in November 2013 used YouTube, Newspaper, Outdoor and Radio. Other than YouTube the only social media element was Tumblr. With a simple web page the campaign’s simplicity is also its beauty. The track was released and within a day it was in the top 10 on the iTunes chart. The catchy tune and chorus are the type that you find yourself humming without realising it.
McCann Melbourne (the agency behind the campaign) added fuel to the fire by releasing a Karaoke version of the song. Soon the Internet was awash with parodies, which is a sure sign of an Internet success.
Evaluating campaign effectiveness
Yes, there have been over 44 million views of the video on YouTube, but we don’t know how many of those live within the Melbourne Metro area. Furthermore, has the campaign reached the bulls-eye target market of those people who may previously have crossed the tracks? Therefore evaluating whether the campaign reached its intended target market is not possible.
The only published statistics state that the campaign contributed to a more than 30% reduction in “near-miss” accidents from November 2012 to January 2013, compared with the same period the previous year. Public information campaigns like this are generally in for the long game, but if that initial success is sustained then it has indeed been a successful as well as memorable marketing campaign. Let’s hope that the campaign evolves to stay fresh and keep making an impact.