The Magic Formula for Creating a Viral Marketing Video

Surely you’ve heard the Dumb Ways To Die song, which was named the most popular global song in November?

Or perhaps you’re one of the 69 million viewers who’ve watched the video campaign on YouTube?

Dumb Ways To Die has been named the most shared public service campaign in history.

So what’s the magic formula to apply to your marketing video?

Dumb Ways To Die is a rail safety campaign that was created by John Mescall of McCann Australia for Metro, Melbourne’s Rail Network. Here are some of his top tips that he believes attributed to the success of the campaign.

1. Your campaign needs a good title.

“I’m a big believer in titles, and as advertising moves from paid interruptions to a storytelling model, it’s something we all should pay much more attention to. Titles sell books, and they sell movies. Dumb Ways to Die is a good title because it’s succinct, evocative and very suggestive of reward-for-effort. Who wouldn’t click on ‘Dumb Ways To Die’? If we titled this piece ‘Be Safe Around Trains’ would it have worked as well? Not a chance.”

2. Likeability

“Five kinds of things go viral: violence, sex, extreme awesomeness, funny or super likable/cute. Violence and sex is usually out for most brands, we couldn’t think of anything extremely awesome, so that left us with funny or super cute. We figured we’d double our chances and combine them both.”

3. Music

“The music itself was obviously vital. We were adamant that this couldn’t be an advertising piece of music. We wanted this to exist as a song in its own right. Fair to say the composer nailed it.”

What’s a sure sign that your viral video is a success? Parodies. Dumb Ways To Die spawned 85 (and counting) parodies. Included here are a couple of our favourites, just for fun.