New Zealand's 'Swim Reaper' Instagram Account Warns You Not to Drown Stupidly

FCB New Zealand Created Darkly Humorous Character to Highlight Water Safety

Published On
Dec 15, 2017

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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 �" 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."




Dec 15, 2017
Client :
Water Safety New Zealand
Client :
Water Safety New Zealand
Agency :
FCB-New Zealand
Regional Executive Creative Director :
James Mok
Executive Creative Director :
Tony Clewett
Creative Services Director :
Jenni Doubleday
Creative :
David Shirley
Creative :
Melina Fiolitakis
Head of Craft :
Nick Smith
Group Studio Manager :
Simon Pengelly
PR :
Angela Spain
Activation :
Angela Spain
Social :
Angela Spain
Content :
Lauren Watling
Producer :
Lauren Watling
Production Assistant :
Richard Surrey
Content Director and Post Production :
Michael Braid
Social Strategist :
Claire Backhouse
Social Account Manager :
Lena Aziz
PR Senior Account Director :
Joanna James
PR Senior Account Director :
Laura Platts
Account Executive :
Katie Smith
General Manager FCB Wellington :
Sean Keaney
Account Director :
Katya Frolova
Account Manager :
Emilie Watts
General Manager Innovation and Strategy :
Murray Streets
Managing Director, Media :
Rufus Chuter
Senior Media Planner :
Andrew Coulthard
Digital Planner/Buyer :
Desita Anggrani
Senior Account Executive of Media :
Jackie Alpatt
Production Company :
FCB New Zealand
Costume and Props Designer :
Lucy Holloway
Props Assistant :
Mary Poor
Talent :
James Burton
Agency :

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