I think I’m going to start something called “Ad of the Week” every couple of weeks. It’ll cover a commercial that I liked over the course of the week, followed by a brief description of who created the ad and an even briefer segment for my opinions.
This week’s ad comes from Metro Transit from Australia and the creative agency, McCann Melbourne and is titled “Dumb Ways to Die”. It was created to promote safety on trains and train platforms around the world. The video uses dark comedy to show a variety of cute characters killing themselves in idiotic ways, such as “Using your private parts as piranha bait” or “Selling both your kidneys on the Internet”, and then singing and dancing to a catchy song called “Dumb Ways to Die”. Originally released on the Internet in November of 2012, the ad had over 8 million YouTube hits in just 4 days and now has close to 50 million hits. This campaign also won McCann Melbourne a record-setting five Yellow Pencil awards and one Black Pencil award, which is a really big deal in the advertising world. Here it is:
I think this ad can be very effective. There are usually two ends on the spectrum of the type of ads that leave an impact on people: cute and funny ads (like the Pillsbury Dough Boy) or shocking and repulsive (like this drunk driving ad). The Dumbest Ways to Die commercial is obviously cute and funny, but it also adds a bit of shock and repulsiveness in a cartoon-ish way. After all, the cartoons are actually being spliced, electrocuted, and shot through! So it’s taking the best of both sides. And though there’s no way of directly seeing if the ad has actually affected the number of train accidents in Australia, perhaps the next time commuters walk on a platform, they’ll remember this silly song and will be a little more alert about what they do at the station.
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