‘Dumb Ways To Die’ comes to Denver

“Dumb Ways to Die” comes to Denver commuters.


With over 120 million views on YouTube, millions of signatures on safety pledges, and numerous awards for its accomplishments, “Dumb Ways To Die” is one of the most successful public service announcements of all time.

This public service announcement was created by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Victoria Australia, and began going viral in 2012. The ad campaign was created to raise awareness of train safety and has since become wildly popular and successful in its mission. There have even been apps and games based on the popular characters who inhabit the ads.

The video features cute, animated characters dying in easily-avoidable accidents, three of which are train-caused deaths. The video is accompanied by a catchy song and ends with a message telling viewers to be safe around trains.

Now, because of a recent partnership, Denverites don’t have to open their internet browsers to see these cute, mistake-prone characters. “Through an innovative partnership with Australian transit operator Metro Trains Melbourne, RTD is bringing the Dumb Ways To Die safety campaign to the metro Denver area,” Scott Reed, RTD assistant general manager of communications said.

With the successful Australian campaign prompting over 75 million safety pledges worldwide, RTD hopes the campaign will have the same positive effect in Denver. “RTD chose this safety campaign to educate the public about being safe around its four new train lines and one bus rapid transit line, as well as existing rail and bus lines,” Reed said. “RTD is the first transit agency in North America to use the Dumb Ways To Die campaign for transit safety outreach.”

To help launch the campaign, the Union Station bus concourse is covered in graphics of the round characters. This change definitely isn’t going unnoticed. As CU Denver student Abbie Speed explains, “I used to hate going to Union Station and just waiting with all those boring gray walls, but now there is all this fun stuff to stare at.”

All of this effort, however, is not just to make the concourse look cute; it is for an important cause. “We are very serious about safety, as evidenced by the agency taking this very different approach to safety messaging. [The campaign] was chosen because it is a memorable and proven effective way to educate about safety, using animation and humor as a hook to engage, captivate, and start a discussion about a very serious topic,” Reed said.

Denverites are already taking notice of these new inhabitants of Union Station. “I think it’s really cute and very effective,” Speed said. “It’s very attention-grabbing. Once you see all the cute little creatures painted all over, you start automatically thinking about what the message is. I don’t normally think about train safety, but when I see all that stuff there, I start thinking.”

Along with the graphics being used to help raise awareness about train safety, there will be RTD staff handing out safety information and encouraging people to sign a safety pledge, which can be found on their website. In just the few days this campaign has been in Denver, there have already been over 2000 safety pledges. To find out more information about the safety campaign and to sign the safety pledge, visit their website at rtd-denver.com/safety.

—Tessa Blair

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