November 21st, 2012 12:56 PM
MELBOURNE—An online video featuring cartoon creatures killing themselves in a variety of ways as part of an Australian transport safety campaign has gone viral, with almost 12 million YouTube views in a week.
The Melbourne Metro Trains video “Dumb Ways to Die” has been shared widely on social media since being uploaded to YouTube seven days ago and the clip and jingle have been especially popular in Asian countries.
It features colourful, round cartoon characters dying in improbable circumstances ranging from poking a stick at a grizzly bear to using “private parts as piranha bait”, and selling both kidneys on the Internet.
The final chorus depicts what is said to be the “dumbest ways to die” — standing on the edge of a rail platform, driving through level crossing gates and running across train tracks.
Metro Trains and the three-minute clip’s creator John Mescall have been surprised by its popularity. It is already among Australia’s most successful viral brand videos after just one week.
“The decision to mix a morbid subject matter with saccharine levels of cute is what ultimately made it funny I think,” Mescall told Australian marketing website mUmbrella.
“Ultimately, it’s an ad that doesn’t feel anything like an ad. It’s happy and silly and joyful and clever and more than a little odd; the intangible things that are so hard to rationalise, but so very important.”