Melbourne Herald Sun, Friday November 23, 2012
After years of bloody, tear-soaked TAC commercials, who would have thought that a jaunty little ditty about psycho killers, drug dealers and setting fire to your hair would be the ad to capture the young folks' attention?
The new Metro transport campaign does just that - featuring dismembered figures bouncing along to the tune of "Dumb Ways to Die". The underlying message is "don't stand on the edge of the station platform, don't drive around level crossing boom gates, and don't run across the train tracks." But instead of transport-institution droning, they gave the job to the creative team at McCann Melbourne who thought maybe a fun message was going to cut through, after the much-reported "carnage fatigue" where the realistic crashes and maimings no longer register.
Something is certainly happening - this week the YouTube viewing figure for this commercial is close to ten million, rocketing it up the Australian viral video charts. Maybe the attractions were: "Don't poke a stick at a grizzly bear" or "don't use your private parts as piranha bait".
Until a week ago the chart toppers were Nova FM's Fitzy and Wippa singing their spoof of "Call me maybe". This scored 2.3 million - for a pretty basic production.
Another ad that is doing well - but much more glam - is Sam Kekovich in a garish blue suit at the Australia Day barbecue urging us to eat lamb chops - and actually singing. The shock value of Sam singing "Barbie Girl" with Melissa Tkautz is irresistible so no wonder it pulled 700,000 hits.
Mind you Sam will have to cook a lot of chops to catch up with our Kylie Minogue. Her new single "Timebomb" scored 12 million views and rising, since it was released earlier this year.
There haven't been many other million-hitter commercials from Australia so far, you have to go overseas for the big numbers. The only stand-out is neither an ad or a song but a speech. To everyone's surprise - and no doubt her delight - it was our PM with her globe-circling "misogyny" speech that made it big. Last time we looked it was hitting two million.
It seems every year we get an unexpected jaw-dropper in the talent shows. This time it was the X Factor discovering Bella Ferraro that generated 2.5 million hits. This huge public exposure bodes well for the teenager's future, even though she didn't win.
On December 8th he is giving a concert at Myer Music Bowl. It comes at the end of a world tour that filled Greek City in LA, Radio City in NY, Hammersmith in London and other great rock venues around the globe. I somehow think the numbers at the Bowl will be higher than he used to get playing the Espie in St Kilda with The Basics. In fact I'll make sure I don't drive through the city that afternoon.
While I love quoting these wonderful social-media figures, I do have to keep reminding my marketeers of some basic realities. Like, that this bundle of print you hold in your hand gets a million and a half "hits" a day. So while new media is great fun, you can't afford to ignore the old.