28 June 2013 Please click here to view this e-mail in your browser  
 egta bite 21 - a radio spot becomes a global phenomenon

The concept

In this week’s egta bite we take a look at how taking a great idea and using it as part of a multi-platform campaign with radio at its heart has generated huge awareness and a real impact.

As you might have heard, this year’s winner of the Radio Grand Prix in the Cannes Lions was the campaign Dumb Ways to Die. The campaign was devised by advertising agency McCANN Melbourne and originally aired as a radio spot for Metro Trains in Australia as a way to reduce risky behaviour around trains. The heart of the campaign is a simple message conveyed through a song, which was cut into shorter segments for the spots. It appeared in newspapers, local radio, outdoor advertising, throughout the Metro Trains network and on Tumblr. The campaign was turned into a video on YouTube, which has now been viewed over 51 million times. The song is available to buy and has also been played – in full and for free – by radio stations. As for the real impact the suicide-prevention push is credited with a 21% drop in the rate of jumpers.

The philosophy behind the campaign was simple: being aware that people in general do not care much about safety messages, the creative team decided to create radio content – a song that appeals to the audience – instead of a traditional radio spot. Audiences not only willingly listen to it, but also pay to own it on iTunes. And it doesn't stop there: in May 2013, Metro released a Dumb Ways to Die game as an app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. Within the app, players can also pledge to "not do dumb stuff around trains". Aside from Cannes, Dumb Ways has enjoyed phenomenal success and recognition, picking up top prizes in Australia's Siren Awards and New York Festivals International Advertising Awards.

What made this ad so popular? It takes an idea that is the opposite of a traditional safety message and combines it with a catchy song that is unlike most advertising and has easily remembered lyrics, and it blends innocence, playfulness and vocal integrity. The simplistic and rather child-like animation in contrast with the extreme situation was yet another key element.

The European radio successes at Cannes

Aside from strong representation from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, there was some success for European campaigns. The UK had a good year, picking up a total of 10 lions with campaigns for Dove (Unilever), Philips, Volkswagen, Weetabix and WWF, an excellent result for a market that has made a renewed effort with regards to radio advertising creativity.

The Belgian public classical radio station Klara picked up a Bronze Lion for the campaign Opposites, which promoted its programme of religious music at Easter to an increasingly secular audience. This matched the achievement of its sister station Radio 1 last year. There were also Lions for Spanish and Irish campaigns.

Why does this matter to egta members?

The Dumb Ways campaign, whilst by no means restricted to radio, demonstrates that by taking a new approach to advertising, a great idea can be used across both audio and audiovisual platforms, as well as on social media and other touchpoints. This approach clearly will not work for every advertiser or every campaign, but it is a fantastic case of confidence being placed in radio as an engaging and effective medium.

This campaign, alongside other innovative entries at this year's festival, offers advertisers clear evidence that when time, intelligence and craft are applied to radio advertising, it can serve as a highly attractive and effective way to connect with audiences.

Target: Radio
What they said ...

» John Mescall, Executive Creative Director McCANN Australia

Background info

Please click on the links below to access the relevant documents:

» Radio Lions Winners (click here)

» Klara Opposites (click here)

» Dumb Ways to Die webpage (click here)

Dumb ways to die

» YouTube video ( click here)

Next events

egta Radio Marketing & Sales Directors' Meeting

Thursday, 28 November 2013