Brief About McCANN
• WELCOME TO McCANN AUSTRALIA, WORLD’S MOST AWARDED AGENCY FOR 2013.
• In 1912, McCann registered the world’s first advertising trademark ‘Truth Well Told’. In the century since, McCann
has been home to some of the world’s greatest brands and some of the industry’s most renowned Truth Tellers.
• In December 1959, McCann opened its doors in Australia and set about uncovering the truths behind some of our
own iconic brands. From ‘Louie the Fly’ to ‘The Milky Bar Kid’, ‘It’s Time’ for the Australian Labor Party and even
the giant ‘Coke Sign’ in Sydney’s Kings Cross.
McCann Australia is the result of a merger in 2011 with awarded local independent agency SMART, creating a new
breed of agency with the leadership, processes, structures and DNA of a creative independent, backed by global
resources and intellectual capital of the world’s largest agency network
• With more than 180 offices in over 120 countries
• There are maybe two places in the world that consumers seek out advertising: on Times Square and online
• The business results delivered for their clients have also seen McCann achieve a record performance in both the
2013 Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards and Effies. And we’re the only Australian agency ever to be featured
among TED’s Ads Worth Spreading.
CLIENT METRO TRAINS
PRODUCT METRO TRAINS
ENTRANT MCCANN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
TYPE OF ENTRY PR: TECHNIQUE
CATEGORY BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
TITLE DUMB WAYS TO DIE
PRODUCT/SERVICE METRO TRAINS
ENTRANT COMPANY MCCANN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
ADVERTISING AGENCY MCCANN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Describe the campaign/entry:
• Summary of the Campaign Accidents and deaths among young people on Melbourne’s Metro
train system had been on the rise for years. But young people don’t listen to public safety
• They needed to make train safety part of the conversation amongst 13-25 year olds. The
strategy was to throw a hand grenade into the world of PSA messaging.
• To be so deliberately different to the norm, they couldn’t help but create a conversation around
• They wrote a song called Dumb Ways to Die, created a music video for it, and attributed it to
an artist that didn’t exist: Tangerine Kitty.
• They uploaded the video onto YouTube and the song onto iTunes. Within a week it had been
viewed 20 million times and covered on every news service in Australia.
• Within a month, it had captured the world’s attention so effectively, it made it into Google’s
• Accidents and deaths among young
people on Melbourne’s Metro train
system had been on the rise for years.
• The problem is, young people don’t
listen to public safety messages –
especially when they come from
• Despite Metro’s best intentions, all
their safety messaging was effectively
• They needed to make train safety part
of the conversation amongst 13-25
year olds, and a traditional approach
clearly wouldn’t work.
Objective Of campaign
• In an effort to reduce the number of accidents on its rail network, Metro Trains
Melbourne has launched a campaign developed by Erikson McCann.
• Entitled ‘Dumb Ways to Die’, the cartoon ad shows a series of characters dying in
novel ways and ends with three characters dying in preventable train accidents.
• he campaign is designed to draw people, especially the younger segments, to the
safety message, rather than frighten them away.“
• The aim of this campaign is to engage an audience that really doesn't want to
hear any kind of safety message, and we think Dumb Ways to Die will.
Strategy Of the campaign
• The campaign comprises of a music video where cartoon characters kill themselves in various
“dumb ways to die”. If you watch “Happy Tree Friends”, you will understand what I mean.
• The agency designed Dumb Ways to Die so that it would be instantly likeable, and importantly,
shareable. First, they created a music video that was funny, irreverent and that featured a very
catchy theme song, designed to inspire sharing. Next, Melbourne leaked the campaign to a
trusted journalist to seed a positive story idea: that McCann is pushing boundaries rather than
sticking to tired, safe formulas.
• The strategy was to break every single rule of public safety messaging they could find. To be so
deliberately different to the norm, it couldn’t help but create a conversation around the
• To engage teens and young adults, their message had to have a strong WTF/OMG factor. It had
to feel like it was coming from a peer, not from an authority. It had to be content, not
advertising focused. And it had to be housed on social platforms that encouraged peer-to-peer
• In short, their strategy was to throw a hand grenade into the world of PSA messaging.
• They wrote a song called Dumb Ways to Die, created a music video for it, and
attributed it to an artist that didn’t exist: Tangerine Kitty.
• They uploaded the video onto YouTube and the song onto iTunes. Within a week it
had been viewed 20 million times and covered on every news service in Australia.
People wanted to know who Tangerine Kitty was, but we wouldn’t say.
• Over the next week we launched 21 animated gifs which quickly became tens of
thousands of memes and avatars.
• They launched a karaoke version of the video to encourage parodies and covers.
Over 200 were made inside of a month.
• Schools started using their campaign material to educate their students, so they
quickly produced a 64 page book for use in the classroom. After a month, they had
far exceeded every goal they’d been set.
• Reduce train related accidents in key accident areas by 10% over 12 months. Generate
campaign awareness of 25% within 12 months amongst the core target.
• For the three months post-launch, Metro has experienced a 21% reduction in accidents and
deaths compared to the same time last year. The goal was 10%.
• In post-testing, 39% of our core audience said they would act safer around trains. Campaign
awareness amongst our core audience 46% after one month. The goal was 25% after one year.
• The video has 55 million YouTube views and rising. It also has huge levels of engagement, with
450,000 likes and 11,000 dislikes.
• Dumb Ways to Die is the most shared public service campaign in history, with 3 million +
Facebook shares and 2,000+ blog posts.
• The campaign has featured in over 700 news outlets worldwide. The song charted on iTunes in
28 countries and is still getting airplay on radio stations worldwide.
Learning and Conclusion
• It was (morbidly) funny and entertaining, therefore very
shareable among social circles.
• Sharing is more emotional, rather than logical based. Once the
individual impact is ensure, the virality will take care of itself.
• Be Safe Around Trains – Metro
• Attention is increasingly the important currency in today’s fast
paced world. Without the attention, it is impossible to educate
the audience effectively about your message.
• New focus, This prolongs the conversation about the cartoon
characters, as well as the safety messages that accompanies it.
• This prolongs the conversation about the cartoon characters, as
well as the safety messages that accompanies it.