The Blog of Babel

This site sits on the crossroads of Languages, Linguistics, Social Media Market Engagement, Marketing Strategy, Innovation Strategy, Creativity Theory, Ancient Mythology & Egyptology. Its a very small crossroads in the middle of cyberspace - so stay for a while - pull up a chair and coffee. 

Dumb Ways To Die Video - Viral Safety Campaign

Have you seen this video - it currently has 51 million views on youtube and is the anchor behind a highly effective marketing campaign for Metro Trains in Melbourne Australia. 

The marketing campaign included many vital elements and content that really made  the message go viral. Here you can learn more about their campaign and how they managed to win a Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity Grand Prix award. 

Their campaign included a youtube video (50 million views), iTunes song (which reached the itunes charts in over 28 countries), Smartphone interactive game, online safety pledge and large interactive billboards in stations and around metro train tracks. 

Ohne Titel Kopie.jpg

The results are equally impressive. A 21% reduction in accidents and deaths on Melbourne's metro. Additionally, this marketing campaign is considered -

the 3rd most viral ad of all time (not too shabby)


Want to learn more about the person behind this amazing campaign? Watch this cool little video and find out more -


The sheer success and creativity of this ad campaign is completely inspiring. From their success we can take away a few important things - 

  1. The message behind the campaign was sincere and authentic. They weren't trying to sell you something or brainwash you, they simply cared about your safety.  With this altruistic goal (which resonates with people around the world), the campaign enjoyed unparalleled success as users were more eager to adopt, sponsor and spread this message.
  2. The campaign embraced many channels and media types while maintaining voice and narrative. The campaign embraced original music, video, mobile apps, books, billboard ads and interactive content. All of these channels focused on the dumb ways to die characters - a very simple reminder of metro safety.
  3. The campaign didn't embrace the normal "shock and awe" tactics that safety ads embrace.  Instead the campaign went a different direction - one that people were probably less likely to anticipate. The decision to satirize "dumb deaths" and make them seem cute and cuddly only added to the campaign's quirkiness and allure. It was also a bold decision (and I'm sure hotly debated) whether to make such a serious subject a comedy - it could have failed completely. However I think the character's cuteness and all out ridiculousness sealed the deal. In the end, cuteness is more shareable then shock. 

The Plight of the TV Refugee

Houston - we have a problem! No one is watching our channels anymore. Where have all the TV refugees gone?


Who actually uses Cable TV anymore - I most certainly do not? I would argue that my generation is getting more and more comfortable with the on-demand capabilities streaming websites can provide (who wants to be told what to watch anymore?) Moving away from the you-only-have-x-channels-be-happy-socialist-dynamic, individuals are turning to online content. The extremely malleable nature of the internet has been more than capable of accommodating new viewership.  

I pay for Cable TV
I watch Cable TV...

Colorful Digital Solutions to Cable TV's Headaches


Style Haul is a youtube channel, but don't let this fool you - the channel was founded by Stephanie Horbaczewski, the former director of marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue. This isn't your average youtube user channel. With more than 1,800 video bloggers in 81 countries and 72 million subscribers, Style Haul is quite the online media network. In the future, Stephanie hopes to incorporate videos with online stores so that shoppers can see products in action. The popularity of this online channel demonstrates the viability of sustainable digital content distribution. 

Not only has the internet been able to accommodate television refugees, it is constantly looking for ways to harness video more dynamically.

Another digital solution is (which for the purposes of my own sanity I will spell as "guide" from here on out). Guide's approach is to make convertible the internet's boundless amounts of written information. Instead of reading a news article, blog post or social media post, guide hopes to convert the text to speech WITH accompanying video. The videos, reminiscent of traditional broadcast journalism, give you the option to watch internet content. Instead of scrolling through the morning news as a ritual, you can cue up videos and watch the news in the background as if it were a TV show. This makes news articles more appealing and dynamic. Plus, you can choose which character reads the news to you - man, woman, child, robot etc. 

Personally I find that impactful news stories, such Iran’s recent election, to be more compelling and relatable when they are read to me by my trustworthy kitty cat anchor...felines are just more trustworthy than humans

With ads sales continually being dwarfed by internet marketing dollars, cable TV is slowly becoming a thing of the past.  These two examples really point to the fact that Cable TV needs to adapt - not fight against the tide. By no means is it the 11th hour for Comcast or Cox, however a change is coming.  

Cable TV has to find sustainable plans to integrate itself with online media - providing more customization, personalization and relevance to the viewer. Television manufactures have already taken cues on these trends and introduced "smart" TVs that connect to the internet and provide a greater range of materials, interface and connect ability.

It is time that cable giants stop being so lazy. It's time to wake up and smell the 21st century media landscape.