A regular review of interesting cultural shifts & marketing developments as viewed through the collective lens of the Stancombe Research + Planning Team

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

“Just don’t get hit by trains… and dance!”


So, if you haven’t seen ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ by now, you are clearly living under a rock. Perhaps you are a lobster, hoping to avoid someone’s Christmas table…

Anyway, we were wondering what it is that makes a piece like this just so magnetic, an internet sensation, loved by so many. Hot on the heels of ‘Gangnam style’, we have just had the two biggest global viral phenomena in a long, long time – and they are both so similar in so many ways.

Firstly, a catchy tune that you cannot get out of your head. Secondly, cute characters that engage everyone (who would ever have thought that a middle-aged Korean man could be classed as cute?). And, thirdly, unbridled ageless joy – light-hearted, fun, infectious, and pure happiness.

We looked up some of the 35,000 on-line comments on ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ and found there is a character there to tickle everyone’s fancy. Some love the kidney guy, others the pie-guy, the superglue, the airplane, the button – we all connect with at least one of those dumb, dumb things. The question is, in this world of measurement in which we live, in order to deem this campaign’s success – they will need to know what the key message take-out is. We thought ‘just don’t get hit by trains and dance’ was a pretty good articulation.

Despite how detailed people’s recall of the messaging, the driving force behind the popularity and therefore the reach of this campaign (already up to 25,000,000+ hits), and indeed that of Gangnam style, is the social celebration of joy. It’s about joining in, sharing, spreading the love, singing, dancing and enjoying. It is up-beat positive energy. Perhaps that’s what we all needed to close 2012 – a year that has seen a lot of hardship economically, politically and socially.

In the wake of the passing of Bryce Courtenay, one of our country’s most famed admen and authors – it also reinforces that, like ‘Louie the Fly’ so many years before, a catchy jingle and light tongue in cheek humour can deliver us the grizzliest of messages. 

And we love it!!

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