“Dumb Ways to Die”: Using Social Media and an Upbeat Video to make a PSA go Viral

Poking a grizzly bear with a stick may seem like a fun activity for contestants on Fear Factor, but accoridng to the latest PSA from Melbourne Metro, it is one of many “dumb ways to die”. YouTube is literally flooded with millions of new videos each day, making it difficult for channel users to get views for their visual content. However, Melbourne Metro created a viral ad campaign that not only breaks through the clutter by being unique, but also provides an effective message in an upbeat (yet morbid) fashion.

The catchy video runs for three minutes and educates viewers on how to avoid an embarrassingly tragic end by featuring the most outrageous dumb ways to die. Despite employing elements of animated humour and a concomitant upbeat song, the message has not been lost on viewers. In fact, the video has already amassed over a million views and is being hailed as a successful case study on how to create PSAs. Long gone are the days of the corny and monotonous PSAs running intermittently on PBS: this new PSA from Melbourne Metro shows how organizations can effectively leverage YouTube and social media to broadcast their messages.

According to their marketing manager, Chloe Alsop, the campaign is meant to effectively capture the attention of people rather than scaring them away completely. “Especially in our younger segments. We want to create a lasting understanding that you shouldn’t take risks around trains, that the prospect of death or serious injury is ever-present and that we as a community need to be aware of what constitutes both safe and dumb behavior,”

In addition to the video, the company will also spread the message through traditional advertising channels, running radio and print ads on select ad vehicles. There will also be support in the way of out-of-home media, with giant posters expected to be plastered on the walls of train stations. Users can also view the microsite for this campaign at DumbWaysToDie.com and view all the GIFs featured in the video from the official Tumblr blog.

Who knew poking a bear with a stick could be so dangerous?

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