How do you create the winningest campaign of the year? Creativity, obviously. But thoughtful integration and a close adherence to strategy help, too.
McCann Melbourne's effort for Metro Trains used that combination to reach the top of our annual most-awarded ad campaigns list, earning best-of-show wins throughout the awards season and a record-breaking five Grands Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The success of "Dumb Ways to Die" propelled Metro to the No. 3 slot on this year's most-awarded advertisers list and its creators, Exec Creative Director John Mescall, Creative Director Pat Baron and Director Julian Frost, to the top of the people charts.
While most people are familiar with the cutely morbid video that anchored the work, there's a lot more to the campaign. We break down the multiple components and strategic core here, with the help of Mr. Mescall.
The Metro clients, General Manager-Corporate Relations Leah Waymark and Marketing Manager Chloe Alsop, didn't want the typical gloom-and-doom public-service ad, which can be a big turn off for people, Mr. Mescall said. "Pretty early on, we decided we'd try to create entertainment rather than advertising," he said. "For the simple reason that we figured if traditional PSAs repel people, then we should really try to create one that attracts them. ... It was the counterintuitive nature of the idea, the weirdness and positivity of the execution, the sheer joy of the song and the video, and the attention to detail across all elements of the work that ensured its success."
The main film launched online featured adorable, amorphous characters and a catchy tune -- key parts of the strategy to promote virality. To maximize shareability, "we gave it universal appeal with grizzly bears, piranha, rattlesnakes and the like," said Mr. Mescall. "The blob people don't have race or sex attached to them. We made it easy to share in bite-size chunks, launched it across many platforms and with a karaoke version to encourage parodies and tributes."
"The video went nuts from Day One, but then had a really long tail: Even 10 months after it launched, it still appears in the top 20 most-shared global ads on the weekly charts," he said. So far, the video has generated 60 million YouTube views.