Viral ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ Campaign Wins Big at Cannes Lions, Keeps Commuters Safe

“Dumb Ways To Die” is not your normal public service announcement. Not only does it have a catchy tune that gets stuck in your head, but it also features cartoon characters getting killed in many ways like electrocution, food poisoning and by oncoming trains.

The Melbourne Metro Trains safety campaign went viral when it was posted on YouTube back in November and has been seen more than 50 million times. This week, Fairfax Newspapers reported that the “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign won three awards at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, including the Grand Prix award for public relations and marketing.

Why did “Dumb Ways to Die” win so big at Cannes Lions? David Gallagher, the president of the PR Jury at Cannes Lions, said that their “fun, engaging” message have won the judges over. The “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign was also helped by a University of Pennsylvania study of most shared articles in The New York Times that confirms the notion that content with positive messages were more likely to be shared more than messages that did not have them.

Jonah Bergman and Katherine Milkman, authors of the UPenn study, said that people shared such content for self-presentation purposes and that people would prefer sharing positive content because it reflects positively on them.

They added: “Most people would prefer to be known as someone who shares upbeat stories or makes others feel good rather than someone who shares things that makes others sad or upset.”

Besides becoming a viral sensation worldwide, the “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign has been effective in reducing accidents and deaths on Melbourne’s commuter rail system. Three months after they launched the campaign, Bloomberg reported that accidents on Melbourne Metro went down by 21 percent, exceeding the company’s goal of 10 percent.

If you want to see the “Dumb Ways to Die” video, see it above.

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