An online video featuring cartoon creatures killing themselves in a variety of ways as part of an Australian transport safety campaign has gone viral, with almost 12 million YouTube views in a week.
The Melbourne Metro Trains video "Dumb Ways to Die" has been shared widely on social media since being uploaded to YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR2EpS0jw) seven days ago and the clip and jingle have been especially popular in Asian countries.
It features colourful, round cartoon characters dying in improbable circumstances ranging from poking a stick at a grizzly bear to using "private parts as piranha bait", and selling both kidneys on the Internet.
The final chorus depicts what is said to be the "dumbest ways to die" -- standing on the edge of a rail platform, driving through level crossing gates and running across train tracks.
Metro Trains and the three-minute clip's creator John Mescall have been surprised by its popularity. It is already among Australia's most successful viral brand videos after just one week.
"The decision to mix a morbid subject matter with saccharine levels of cute is what ultimately made it funny I think," Mescall told Australian marketing website mUmbrella.
"Ultimately, it's an ad that doesn't feel anything like an ad. It's happy and silly and joyful and clever and more than a little odd; the intangible things that are so hard to rationalize, but so very important."