Public safety campaigns are usually boring and predictable. In contrast, 'Dumb ways to Die' promotes train safety in an amusing Darwin Award style.
The moment a viewer knows they're watching a public safety advertisement, they often switch off - either metaphorically or literally. The genre has traditionally been dominated by worthy-but-dull messages delivered in a worthy-but-dull way. So how do you get around that knee-jerk reaction?
The answer as far as Metro - Melbourne, Australia’s train system - is concerned, is not to tell anybody they're watching a public safety video at all! Instead, this video - which they clearly hope with go viral - sucks you in with a series of cute and amusing characters playing out the lyrics of a comedy song 'Dumb ways to die'.
These include "set fire to your hair, poke a stick at a grizzly bear, eat medicine that's out of date, use your private parts as pirhana bait..." - all reminiscent of 'Darwin Award' deaths. (Darwin Awards are tongue-in-cheek honours 'awarded' to people who remove themselves from the gene pool by dying in spectacularly stupid ways.)
Only at the end of the ad does the message "Be safe around trains" appear, as an unspoken closing title. Ultra-subtle - but we reckon more powerful and successful because of it.
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