getting hit by a train is a dumb way to die

"Dumb Ways to Die" is a public service campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne promoting rail safety.

Devised by advertising agency McCann Melbourne, the campaign appeared in newspapers, local radio, outdoor advertising, throughout the Metro Trains network and on Tumblr. Executive creative director at the agency, John Mescall, said "The aim of this campaign is to engage an audience that really doesn’t want to hear any kind of safety message." A difficult audience then.

The campaign also included a video which features "a variety of cute characters killing themselves in increasingly idiotic ways" (surely a pre-requisite for any safety awareness work?!). For reasons that are pretty self-evident to me, the film went viral pretty quickly and within two weeks of uploading on YouTube had been viewed over 28 million times. It's even load lots of advertising awards from people in the know.

But has it actually done the job for which it was created?

Well, according to Metro Trains (who obviously has a vested interest in promoting it's effectiveness) yes it has. The campaign has apparently contributed to a more than 30% reduction in "near-miss" accidents - from 13.29 per million kilometres between November 2011 and January 2012, to 9.17 between November 2012 and January 2013.

Just goes to show that even a boring subject can be can be made enjoyable (and successful).