Meet the "Swim Reaper." His Instagram account, featuring photos of the Grim Reaper-styled character vacationing at New Zealand's many beaches and beauty spots, has 176,000 Instagram followers. What some perhaps don't know is that he's a government warning on water safety.
Created by FCB New Zealand, the Swim Reaper is targeted at young males (15-34) who disproportionately make up more than one third of drownings in New Zealand but who don't tend to react well to being preached at on what to do at the beach. The account uses dark humor and language that's on their radar. "If ur gonna make dumb decisions in the water, I'll be waiting," says the Swim Reaper in his Instagram bio. His catchphrase is "Swim dumb and you're done."
Jonty Mills, chief executive of Water Safety New Zealand, says in a statement: "Young New Zealanders love to play in the water ï¿½" it is part of our way of life. But it also carries risk and we need people to be aware of the dangers. The Swim Reaper does a great job of reminding people about those."
Tony Clewett, executive creative director at FCB New Zealand, adds: "It's pretty crazy. You've got a situation where we have a social media account that communicates safety messaging, but it has a following of over 170,000 young people--a fairly cynical group who can't wait to be sent more and more safety messaging? That's pretty cool."