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Swim Reaper targets young male swimmers in NZ safety campaign


Swim Reaper targets young male swimmers in NZ safety campaign


A New Zealand social media campaign features the Grim Reaper trying to entice swimmers to drown in the nation’s waters.

FCB New Zealand has launched a campaign for Water Safety NZ in partnership with ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation NZ) aiming to encourage water safety via social media messages by the Grim Reaper.

By ironically encouraging deaths, the campaign has been successful in promoting water safety and has achieved high traffic on social.

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After five weeks its achieved over one million views, over 30,000 followers and 13,000 likes on Instagram, a 20% decrease in drowning year-on-year.

It has also seen the drowning deaths go down to zero in its target demographic of young men, who until now have disproportionately made up one-third of all drowning deaths in NZ.

Positive safety messaging has been traditionally unsuccessful with this cynical demographic, prompting FCB to adopt the darkly comedic standpoint and ‘swim dumb and you’re done’ tagline.

“The Swim Reaper campaign has been a great success,” says CEO Water Safety NZ.

“It’s raised awareness among young males that there can be fatal consequences for unsafe behaviour in, or around the water without Water NZ being the ‘fun police.’

The humour of the campaign has engaged our target audience while delivering an important safety message – normally a difficult task considering the tendency is for young men to under estimate risks and over-estimate their ability,” he says.

Related: Qantas’ latest safety video features Australian tourism hotspots »


Last time we can remember the Grim Reaper being used in a water safety campaign was this one. A whole lot less funny and a whole lot more grim, enjoy!

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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