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Melbourne Metro Extends ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ Campaign With Plush Toys

Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Skift Take

Melbourne Metro knows its “Dumb Ways To Die” campaign will live on, now that the furry, huggable critter version will be making it into retail outlets. It isn’t often that a rail line has to ponder brand integrity and adorable piranhas simultaneously.

— Dennis Schaal

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Melbourne Metro/Ad Age

Melbourne Metro/Ad Age

Melbourne Metro/Ad Age

Melbourne Metro/Ad Age

Melbourne Metro/Ad Age

Melbourne Metro/Ad Age

You haven’t seen the last of the blood-gushing, maimed cuties from Dumb Ways to Die. In fact, you’ll be seeing a lot more of the stars of last year’s most celebrated campaign now that Melbourne Metro has launched its new line of plush toys.

The adorable piranha and rattlesnake victims, hair-on-fire guy, clueless commuters and more will hit store shelves first quarter of this year. Some of the cuddly characters will be small enough to fit in your pocket, while others will dwarf the average teddy bear at more than 30 inches in height. The toys will retail from $5.99 to $99.00.

Metro General Manager-Corporate Relations Leah Waymark said the idea was an afterthought, borne naturally from consumers’ — and merchandisers’ — reactions to the rail safety campaign.

“We never set out for this to be a goal and it certainly didn’t factor into anything around determining the creative,” she said. “But countless people asked, ‘Where can I get the t-shirt?’ We had a lot of people who produce items approach us, from t-shirt makers to toy makers, to people who wanted to produce TV shows. But we narrowed it to what we thought would be most important, and that’s the brand integrity. This was not about finding another revenue stream. Finding a way to engage with people in different ways and keep the conversation alive was foremost.”

To create the plush toys, Metro went to different licensing shows and toy trade fairs around the world and landed on California-based licensing partner Evolution Inc. and New York-based manufacturer Commonwealth Toy and Novelty, which has produced goods for other pop-culture hits such as “Angry Birds,” “Duck Dynasty” and “Family Guy.” Ms. Waymark said Metro is working with a number of agents around the world to distribute the toys.

The cuddly critters are not the end of the road. Metro is working with McCann Melbourne on developing more content and seeking developers for the next version of its mobile game. “Obviously, if you go down the licensing road, you’ll need more content to support it,” said Ms. Waymark. “We just see this as a way of keeping DWTD alive.”

adage_200x200This story originally appeared on AdAge, a Skift content partner.

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