Dumb Ways to Die is a song and accompanying music video which comprise a public safety announcement promoting safety around trains. The campaign is sponsored by the Metro Train public transit service in Melbourne, Australia. It was written by John Mescall and sung by Emily Lubitz, with music and backing vocals provided by Ollie McGill. The song is attributed to Tangerine Kitty on iTunes and Soundcloud, referencing the origins of the creators: Lubitz is the lead vocalist of Tinpan Orange and McGill hails from The Cat Empire.
The main appeal of the video is the cute, simple visuals and the lighthearted tone of the singer describing dark and increasingly stupid ways to die. Some of the highlights include ingesting expired medicine, depressurizing your space suit, selling your internal organs for money, and wondering what this red button does. During each chorus, all of the victims up to that point get up and do a little jig to the beat, not unlike how ancient Greek actors might all come out on stage at the end of the tragedy and tell the audience that it was all in good fun, and the juxtaposition only adds to the humour. The bridge finally reminds you of the dangerous things you can do around trains, telling you that "they may not rhyme, but they're quite possibly / the dumbest ways to die", and the dancing chorus, now grown to a veritable rogue's gallery of dumb ways to die, still claps along as content as ever, before the song comes to a close and we are reminded to be safe around trains.
The campaign, put together by McCann Melbourne, placed these ads in newspapers, on local radio, around the train network, and on YouTube and Tumblr—apparently at a fraction of the cost of TV advertising—and was smashingly successful, amassing 2.7 million views on YouTube in 48 hours, and then garnering more than ten times that after two weeks, along with as many as 85 parodies. Mescall, the songwriter and executive creative director at McCann, estimates over $50 million of global media value. It's worth noting that the video spread on Tumblr like wildfire, once again proving that masterful control of social media can be just as good or better than popular advertising like that of TV.
The YouTube video can be found here. There is a small promotional site at dumbwaystodie.com, and there's a Tumblr featuring some animated gifs of scenes in the video. It also has its own Wikipedia article.