Getting hit by a train is a pretty dumb way to die.
Trains travel in a straight line. If you get hit by one, you’ve probably done something pretty silly, which makes getting hit by a train one of the dumbest ways to die.
Rather than a typically earnest public service announcement, McCann opted for a mix of offbeat humour, a catchy tune and a collection of amiable animated characters to launch our message as an online music video under the compelling title Dumb Ways to Die. Within 24 hours of its launch on 16 November 2012, the Dumb Ways to Die song reached the top 10 chart of iTunes and was ranked number six on the singer/songwriter category on the global iTunes chart just 48 hours later.
The video has now amassed over 200 million views and 5 million shares, making Dumb Ways to Die the most shared ad of all time. Supported by an integrated advertising campaign, it spawned a plethora of global parodies and spin-offs, garnering massive global media attention for Metro Trains and its safety message.
The first game app climbed to number one in 22 countries including the US, UK, Canada and Australia, with over 103 million downloads and 7 billion unique plays coming from every country in the world.
While Dumb Ways to Die 2: The Games became the number one app in over 90 countries, with more than 80 million people pledging to be safe around trains and nearly four billion mini-game plays in just three months.
127 million people have pledged they will be safer around trains because of the campaign. And Dumb Ways to Die remains the most awarded campaign in history (with 28 Cannes Lions alone, including five Grands Prix) and saw McCann Australia named the most awarded agency in the world.
Of course, we never imagined it would be such a huge global hit. But it was more than just dumb luck.