Issues that could do with cutesy viral videos

Over the last week, Metro’s ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ video managed to clock over 5 million YouTube views due to its catchiness and the adorable cognitive dissonance of cutesy cartoon characters biting it in increasingly gory ways. The song also has truth at its heart; getting hit by a train is an extremely dumb way to die*.

Using songs, humour and twee graphics to convey a serious message is hardly a new frontier, but given us millennials are now harder to reach for than a bag of soup, it’s nice to know the classic strategy still works on new mediums. Virgin has also adopted the practice with its in-flight safety videos, which have replaced condescending flight attendants with animated characters.

With these wins in mind, here are a few more public health and safety issues that could potentially be addressed with cute cartoons.

Drink driving – The “If you drink and drive, you’re a bloody idiot” campaign has given us several good decades, but as our lingo changes it’s beginning to sound more like a lecture from Alf Stewart and less like the truth that it is. Instead, why not harness the significant power of peer shaming?  Create an adorable cartoon arsehole that uses public toilets without flushing, answers its mobile phone in the movie theatre, posts a ceaseless string of selfies on Instagram then drives home drunk, running down a cartoon Michelle Jenneke walking a puppy in the process. Then encourage viewers to post the video on the Facebook walls of anyone they know who drives drunk.

Sexual health – Can you think of anything cuter than dancing cartoon condoms? Nope, me neither. Dancing cartoon condoms are the cutest. Way cuter than getting “VD Is For Everybody”  stuck in your head for weeks and weeks at a time. Plus I’m pretty sure if you put big, limpid eyes on genitals, it makes them immediately safe for work. Am I right Safety Sam?

Beach safety – Here’s an issue where the Internet’s ability to reach a global audience really comes in handy. While it may not do wonders for tourism in Australia, claymation backpackers drowning after drunk-swimming on New Years Eve, or getting stung by box jellyfish is something the world has to see. We’re expending valuable resources on rescuing these people, when we could be educating them instead. Through the power of animated figurines.

Smoking – Actually I’m joking, it’s impossible to make a cutesy cartoon about smoking that won’t ultimately wind up making smoking look cooler. Maybe instead you could use equally adorable infographics that show how much money you’re wasting on cigarettes.

Internet addiction – What better way to reach craven net-heads than by speaking to them on their own terrain with a video so annoying and cloying that it quite literally forces audiences to flee from their computers and out into the brightness of the outside world?

Dental hygiene – If ever there was a subject that could do with camping up, it’s good dental hygiene. You should probably be brushing your teeth every time you even vaguely consider brushing your teeth, and flossing twice as much as you can be bothered to. I sincerely believe can-caning tartar with a catchy sung reminder that bad teeth lead to an early grave.

*Especially if it happens while you’re watching YouTube clips on your iPhone and not paying attention to the world around you. 

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