I was privileged to recently attend a seminar where guest speaker Leah Waymark, General Manager Corporate Relations of Metro Trains, shared some of the strategy and thinking behind the hugely successful ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ social media campaign.
With over 43 million hits to date and offers from train operators around the world to buy the rights to the format and the song, it’s been an amazing campaign to watch as a social media observer. I thought NAB did particularly well with the Break-up campaign which started on Valentine’s Day last year (also a hugely successful social media campaign). But this just takes the cake.
What I found most interesting was the reasons behind the social-media only format. While some of it came down to budget it was also the best way to connect with their primary target audience of 14-25 year olds who are travelling on their own and think they’re immortal. So it needed to appeal to them and help them appreciate their sometimes risk-taking behaviour as well as the potential consequences. It was also about giving them information on their terms – allowing them to view it and absorb it when they wanted to and when they were ready to accept the messaging.
I also loved the fact that Metro were very deliberate in their use of the word ‘dumb’ which was chosen particularly as a way to be seen on YouTube. Waymark explained that people, and in particular youth, want to see things on YouTube that are ‘dumb’…. no-one wants to see things that are ‘safe’. And I have to agree with her. How fun is it to get on YouTube and see silly people doing stupid things? It’s hilarious, right? You know you agree with me! It’s an endless pot of gold for dumb stuff.
I’m looking forward to seeing the next ‘big thing’ in social media advertising and what their recipe for success is!