Dumb Ways to Die

Friday, June 14th, 2013

In an effort to improve passenger safety on Melbourne’s Metro Trains system, the city created an awesome ad campaign entitled “Dumb Ways to Die”. If you’re a fan of Edward Gorey (particularly his Gashlycrumb Tinies), you’re likely to enjoy the campaign. Despite being terribly dark, the art style makes it all work.

Artwork like this is posted around the stations:

Dumb Ways to Die: Taking your helmet off in outer space
“Take your helmet off in outer space”

How terribly great is that? More relevant are images such as this:

Dumb Ways to Die: Run across the tracks coz you're late
Late because he stopped to buy a balloon, perhaps?

While the art is seen around many stations, the most widely-seen part of the campaign must be the song and video. It has almost 50 million views on YouTube.1 and it’s catchy as all get out. You can also see great GIFs, based on the video, featuring the dumb ways to die. Those are available on their Tumblr site, like this one for “Dress up like a moose during hunting season”2:

Dumb Ways to Die: Dress up like a moose during hunting season

Though the campaign began back in November 2012, it’s still active currently. In fact, an amusing and enjoyable iOS game was recently made available, free of charge. At the time of this writing, it’s the number one free iOS app in the App Store.

While the video and artwork spend a lot of time talking about non-train-related things you should avoid doing, and only get to the real point at the end, the message seems to be getting through nonetheless. Metro Trains has credited the campaign with helping to obtain a more than 30% reduction in “near-miss” accidents. Well done all around.3

Pledging to be safe around trains
If I die stupidly, someone should be sure to Photoshop the instrument of my demise in to this photo.


  1. That video is archived here.↩︎

  2. I was curious, so I checked. Australia does not actually even have moose.↩︎

  3. Well, except Russia, who has purportedly censored the video and associated content. This is apparently part of the takedown notice:

    The song’s lyrics contains a description of different ways of committing suicide, such as: using drugs beyond their expiration date, standing on an edge of a platform, running across the rails, eating superglue and other. The animated personages demonstrate dangerous ways of suicide in attractive for children and teenagers comic format. The lines such as “hide in a dryer” and “what’s this red button do?” contain an incitement to commit those acts.

    Ridiculous if true. ↩︎

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