This data-driven update of Soul Asylum's 'Runaway Train' video aims to bring more missing kids home

New version of the clip leverages geo-targeting to help increase the odds of finding lost children

Published On
May 23, 2019

Editor's Pick

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,, 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.”


May 23, 2019
Client :
Agency :
Director :
Jake Scott
Production Company :
RSA Films
Executive Producer :
David Mitchell
Executive Producer :
Tracie Norfleet
Executive Producer :
Julia Ochsenreiter
Producer :
Christian Nurse
Director of Photography :
Chris Soos
Production Company/Website Development :
Editorial Company :
Bread & Butter
Editor :
Amanda Perry
Editor :
Andrea MacArthur
PR :
Powell Communications
President :
Sloane Humphrey
Head of Ideas and Innovation :
Sara Woster
Account Director :
Beryl Crofton Atkins
Account Manager :
Titus Wouda Kuipers
Color Correction :
Company 3
Senior Colorist :
Stefan Sonnenfeld
Senior Producer :
Gabriel Wakeman
Executive Producer :
Ashley McKim
Online/Finishing :
Senior Executive Producer :
Alaina Zanotti
Executive Producer :
Ananda Reavis
Senior Producer :
Julia Paskert
Flame Artist :
Ian Holland
Flame Artist :
Aaron Neitz
Flame Artist :
Andrew Dill
Graphic Artist :
Ryan Wehner
Audio Mixing :
Subtractive Inc.
Executive Producer :
Kyle Schember
Re-Recording Mixer/Sound Designer :
J Clark
Audio Mixing :
Lime Studios
Executive Producer :
Susie Boyajan
Engineer :
Jeff Malen
Talent/Management/Label :
YMU Group
Executive Manager :
Joel Marks
Artist Management :
Danny Celis
Singer/Band :
Dave Pirner
Singer/Band :
Soul Asylum
Talent :
No Friction
Executive Producer/Music Supervisor :
Michael Frick
Talent :
A&R, Head of Sync & Licensing :
Zach Sinick
Music Producer, Mixer :
Jayson DeZuzio
Singer :
Jamie N Commons
Engineer :
Randy Belculfine
Additional Music Production :
Runway Girls
Additional Music Production :
Additional Music Production :
Head of Marketing :
Matt LaMotte
Marketing :
Rob Gross
Additional Music Production :
Crush Music
Head of A&R :
Evan Taubenfeld
A&R :
Spencer Smith
Singer :
Skylar Grey
Talent :
Warner Brothers/Maverick
Artist :
A&R :
Dan Werman
Manager :
Gordan Dillard
Chief Creative Officer :
John Matejczyk
Executive Creative Director :
Paul Stechschulte
Associate Creative Director :
Adam Ledbury
Associate Creative Director :
Kelsey Wilkins
Associate Creative Director :
Guy Lemberg
Art Director :
Colleen Horne
Copywriter :
Amanda Burger
Head of Production, Associate Partner :
Tanya LeSieur
Producer :
Molly Hayes
Associate Producer :
Ben Evangelista
Senior Editor :
Whitney James
Director of Business Affairs :
Cara Orlowski
Chief Strategy Officer :
Matt Hofherr
Chief Strategy Officer :
Brenden Robertson
Director of Analytics :
Arthi Veeraragavan
Director of Marketing :
Alexis Lovett
Group Account Director :
Marisa Buss
Account Manager :
Prianka Sundaram
Account Supervisor :
Kat McLeod
Director of Project Management :
Holly Nicolson
President and CEO :
John Clark
Chief Operating Officer :
Michelle DeLaune
Vice President, Strategic Advancement & Partnerships :
Gavin Portnoy
Senior Communications Program Manager :
Rebecca Kovar
Director, Digital & Broadcast Media :
Angeline Hartmann
Director, Creative & Engagement :
Stacy Garrett
Media Relations Manager & Producer :
Christine Barndt
Senior Digital Media Program Manager :
Michael Hill
Technical Project Director :
Andre Howard
Director, Case Management Services :
Patricia Willingham
Senior Social Strategist :
Luke Yun

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