A cute animated tale of a beaver trying to catch the perfect fish serves as a PSA warning of the dangers of dams -- that's the hydro-electric kind, not the beaver kind -- in Canada.
The 90 second film, created by Tornonto agency The Hive for Ontario Power Generation, uses animation by Aardman to ramp up the cuddly factor as the tale unfolds as a fable told in campfire song. "Dammy" spends his life in search of a big fish and one day he spies the perfect fish leaping from the water. The only problem is that it's precariously close to a hydro dam -- and here the tale takes a perilous turn.
In the end (spoiler alert), things turn out OK -- it's not quite Dumb Ways to Die. And if Dammy reminds you of another safety spokesanimal, the connection is intentional: the agency says he was inspired by the image of Smokey the Bear, the classic fire-safety figure.
Ontario Power Generation's goal is to promote safety and create awareness around the dangers of fishing and swimming too close to hydro dams and stations. "Summer is a dangerous time for people near the water. People don't understand the power of hydro dams and frequently ignore the warning signs. They think they'll be fine if they boat or swim just a little closer," says Jennifer Rowe, senior VP, corporate affairs. "We care about people's safety and wanted a campaign that would really resonate and connect with people, and drive home the message that these dams can be extremely dangerous."
Meghan Kraemer, associate creative director at The Hive, adds that creating a folksy and nostalgic character like Dammy allowed the agency to communicate a serious message in a relatable and charming way. "By telling this story in song, we were able to take a deadly topic and make it seem like a story you'd tell your kids around the campfire."