Dumb Ways to Die viral ‘leads to 20% drop in dumb behaviour at Melbourne train stations’

Metro Trains has seen a 20% drop in “dumb behaviour” on train platforms in the Melbourne area in the two months since the launch of the popular Dumb Ways to Die safety video, the transport operator’s head marketer claimed last night.

Speaking at Mumbrella’s Meet the Marketers session in the Victorian capital, Leah Waymark, general manager of corporate relations for Metro Trains, said that the three-minute cartoon – which has amassed 40m views since it launched in November – had prompted a sharp reduction in “risky or dumb behaviour”, such as walking or driving around boomgates.

Incidences of safety near misses at stations have fallen 20% against the annual average, and are down 15% compared to this time last year, she later told Mumbrella.

However, Waymark admitted that a risk of the musical safety ad is that it could “get into people’s heads” if played too often at train stations, and there was a need to move the campaign on into new areas.

A push into schools will come next as Metro Trains looks to reinforce the message among young Victorians, she said. E-direct marketing, booklets, apps and games will be the areas in which the campaign looks to expand.

Waymark also revealed that there had been “a lot of global commercial interest” in the viral, and Metro Trains was currently exploring these opportunities.

The viral was created by Metro Trains’ ad agency McCann Melbourne.


  1. Sam
    8 Feb 13
    10:39 am

  2. Great campaign and content play obviously but to play devils advocate, what are the numbers like YoY (a fairer judgment) as this removes seasonal shifts in PT usage and daylight factors…

  3. Red
    8 Feb 13
    11:35 am

  4. Where exactly are they getting their statistics from? Is this anecdotal?

  5. Karalee
    8 Feb 13
    11:41 am

  6. What’s the method of assessment to claim a 20% reduction in risky behaviour – particularly around driving around boomgates? Is this year on year reduction, based on ‘near miss’ stats from the ATSB or driver admission or random sampling of locations with peak vs offpeak observation?

    A 2 month period of measurement, in Christmas holidays, is in my experience, a difficult time to benchmark. Level crossing safety figures are wildly variable – they are also incredibly environmentally dependent.

    To claim, and indeed demonstrate, a sharp reduction in risky behaviour directly resulting from a content piece (and associated integrated messaging campaign), deserves thorough investigation and transparency. Lest we as an industry, start to claim short-term variants as long-term behavioural change wins; which doesn’t do anyone but the client & agency, any good.

  7. The Accountant
    8 Feb 13
    12:17 pm

  8. 20% drop in dumb behaviour . . really? Where does the data come from? And does it account for kids not having to go to school?

  9. w
    8 Feb 13
    12:19 pm

  10. Meh, how do they track how much dumb behavior was involved?

  11. bob is a rabbit
    8 Feb 13
    1:09 pm

  12. No such drop in premature statistical claims post-release of a popular campaign to get some final (pre-award show) PR out of it.

  13. Matt
    8 Feb 13
    1:22 pm

  14. Come on Mumbrella, you’re better than this. Don’t provide a stat without any substantiation – leave that kind of journalism for the Herald Sun.

  15. GC
    8 Feb 13
    1:37 pm

  16. I don’t know and yes it would be great to get some more substantiation of this figure but I can tell you that every time I see a muppet on a bike (I am a cyclist) running a red light that song is just like BAM.

  17. Anon
    8 Feb 13
    1:42 pm

  18. Right on. Mumbrella, let McCann do their own PR.

  19. Jimi Bostock
    8 Feb 13
    1:43 pm

  20. I am with the others on this. I loved the campaign. One of the best. Brilliant insight and awesome execution. One of those “wish I had come up with it” ideas.

    But the stats are really silly and degrade the brilliance of the campaign. They seem plucked out of thin air and even if there is some explanation forthcoming on how they were arrived at, I think they will be found lacking.

    As the saying goes – just because it can be measured doesn’t mean it matters.

    What matters with this campaign, and so very obvious, is that the campaign raised huge awareness of the need to be careful around trains. On that front, I think it probably one of the most effective behavior change campaigns in a long long time.

    That should have been enough and this silly grab for more evidence cheapens what has been an outstanding campaign.

  21. Alberto Rosso
    8 Feb 13
    2:58 pm

  22. 39,406,146 views on Yewtoob seems fairly effective. The parody has just over a million.

  23. Robin Hicks
    8 Feb 13
    3:39 pm

  24. Hi guys,

    The 20% drop is against an annual average of safety incidences. Story now amended. Apologies – my bad. Should have been clearer on that number, which needed context.

    Robin – Mumbrella

  25. Tom
    8 Feb 13
    4:47 pm

  26. So we are meant to believe that this campaign has results that are worth talking about yet.?.. Dumb ways to fiddle stats

  27. Karalee
    8 Feb 13
    5:00 pm

  28. Robin, with all due respect, that clarification against annual safety numbers still doesn’t clarify the ‘led to a reduction of 20%’ claim, not report.

    What evaluation was conducted to demonstrate the messaging led to this change?

    The YouTube views were a majority of outside of Australia, let alone Melbourne. So an assumption that ‘it went viral then we saw a 20% reduction’ is flawed, and frankly open to scrutiny and social media marketing hyperbole.

    Still keen to have this clarified and demonstrated. Or should we just wait for the inevitable awards articles and high fives that a viral social campaign saved lives?

  29. NS
    8 Feb 13
    6:18 pm

  30. pity they spoilt the great vibe about this excellent work by bullshit stats

  31. John Grono
    9 Feb 13
    12:07 am

  32. A 20% drop in dumb behaviour on train platforms that seems to correlate extraordinarily well with a 100% increase in dumb marketing effectiveness claims. P.S. I made that last bit up .. but I might not be the only one.

  33. NL
    9 Feb 13
    12:55 pm

  34. Agree wholeheartedly with Karalee. To make this statement research must categorically show the effect was due to the marketing material and discount all other variables. What if there were just less people catching trains over the same period? Or less stupid people …

  35. To be fair
    9 Feb 13
    2:09 pm

  36. ‘near misses’ down 15% from same time last year. assuming metro tallies these things regularly, and it’s not just a ‘vibe’ then that’s a pretty decent stat.

    Like any campaign there may well be more than one reason for it though, and you’re never entirely sure where to attribute success. Some people still claim that the sales success of Old Spice was due to a coupon promotion run at the same time.

    But if the TAC can point to the reduced road toll as proof of the effectiveness of their campaigns, and conveniently ignore such things as safer cars, drink driving legislation, speed cameras, airbags, etc… Then why can’t metro attribute safer behaviour to their campaign.

  37. Mike
    10 Feb 13
    12:12 pm

  38. What we need is a 20% drop in dumb statistics.

    Or maybe a cute animated campaign titled “Dumb Ways to Measure”.