The original music video for Soul Asylum’s 1993 pop tune “Runaway Train” doubled as a promo as well as a plea to viewers to help find missing children around the world. Directed by Tony Kaye, it centered on the theme of lost children and featured images and names of real missing kids in the countries in which it aired on MTV and VH1 (U.S. and U.K versions were made). Inspired by those once-ubiquitous milk carton ads with pictures of missing children, the clip ultimately led to 21 kids being found.
For the song’s 25th anniversary, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the organization behind the original milk carton effort, and agency M/H VCCP and have given the “Runaway Train” video a modern-day, digital update—one that leverages location data in order to help find even more children, based on where the clip is being viewed.
The new version, directed by RSA’s Jake Scott, features a cover of the tune, performed by Jaime N Commons and Skylar Grey and featuring Gallant. When viewers watch the video online at a dedicated site, runawaytrain25.com, it will update automatically to feature profiles of missing kids from their community in the NCMEC database. The new push comes in time for National Missing Children’s Day on Saturday, May 25.
The video was also built with extra tools to facilitate recovery of the kids. Viewers can pause the video to get more information on the children featured and to report a sighting. They can also make and share custom versions of the promo to include their own loved ones or friends who are missing.
Additionally, the campaign features digital billboards and posters that leverage location data to show missing kids in their nearby areas.
“There is nothing more powerful than when a community comes together to solve a problem,” aid John Matejczyk, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, M/H VCCP in a statement. “NCMEC’s Milk Carton campaign was one of the most ingenious, iconic campaigns ever. It was always current and always local. We conceived of Runaway Train 25 as a way to bring art and technology together to accomplish the same thing in video form for finding missing kids. We hope that Runaway Train 25 resonates with communities across the country so that NCMEC can bring home more kids than ever before.”