Dumb Ways to Die

With every passing day, the impact of social media and advertising is playing a humungous role in influencing people in various ways – be it right, or wrong. This case provides an insight into one such scenario. Metro trains in Melbourne had a problem, the death toll of young people dying and getting injured due to their foolish behavior around rails was rapidly increasing. Metro trains approached McCann Melbourne (an advertising and digital agency) to create awareness on rail safety.

·         John Mescall, the creative director of McCann Melbourne felt the need to create effective content for the campaign, more so than a good advertisement. With strong beliefs that “Generation y” feels the need to get involved to grasp the vitality of anything, the agency decided to come up with a campaign that had the opportunity for virality.

·         Go to YouTube, type “Dumb Ways to Die”, and if the satirical video of morbidly funny cartoon characters dying due to ridiculous reasons does not find you laughing uncontrollably, then you are dumb (you can find ways to die in the video).

·         The aforementioned video was sent to a single reporter initially, who was the transport topic reporter for Melbourne main newspaper. He conceptualized the video effectively, and well, it got viral.

·         McCann Melbourne kept the content coming, be it in form of gifs, a downloadable iTunes song or featuring it on Reddit page. Dumb ways to die was everywhere and spreading fast.

·         The campaign became a success when people started creating their own content out of the concept, in form of spoofs and videos that have made circles around social media like wildfire. Although, the true success of the campaign might have come up with Russia banning the ad, the pretext being that the original video portrayed a lot of ways for youngsters to commit suicide. The irony of it!

·         “Dumb Ways to Die” reached top 100 in 101 countries, top 1,000 in 148 countries. In six weeks, the campaign gathered an estimated $60 million in earned media. A game launched in the same name became the no. 1 free app in 21 countries. Now, these numbers speak volumes.


The campaign showed a 21% decrease in the railway mishaps that were previously happening in Melbourne metro. Although the effectiveness of the campaign cannot be predicted with this figure, the agency did successfully manage to open doors for more discussions about rail safety. Dumb Ways to Die campaign set the stage for further thought process on a topic that was previously showered with ignorance and dumbness (of course).

Bitly: https://bit.ly/1FDS3Cj


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