The Swim Reaper was created last summer by Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) in partnership with ACC to target the at-risk demographic of young men aged 15 to 30. Despite making up only 14 per cent of the population, this group accounts for around one third of drowning deaths annually.
Through his dark humour the Swim Reaper illustrates the deadly consequences of making bad decisions around water. As one of the most effective social media accounts in New Zealand, The Swim Reaper’s Instagram following is approaching 200,000 followers.
From December 2016 to February 2017, the Swim Reaper Instagram account was viewed over 2.25 million times in New Zealand. Now he’s back with more content to shock and entertain, but also to make people think about water safety.
CEO of WSNZ Jonty Mills says, “Young New Zealanders love to play in the water – it is part of our way of life. But it also carries risk and we need people to be aware of the dangers.The Swim Reaper does a great job of reminding people about those.”
The Swim Reaper has really spoken to his audience and his following has grown from strength to strength having been featured in The Daily Mail, The Sun, Huffington Post and Bored Panda.
He will be back this summer hanging out at swimming spots around New Zealand, armed with his dark sense of humour.
“We want young men to stop making bad decisions around the water and instead think and look out for each other,” says Jonty Mills.
“This group tend to overestimate their ability and often don’t think about the potentially deadly consequences of their bad decisions.”
The original campaign was xreated by FCB New Zealand. Tony Clewett, executive creative director at FCB New Zealand, adds: “It’s pretty crazy. You’ve got a situation where we have a social media account that communicates safety messaging, but it has a following of over 170,000 young people–a fairly cynical group who can’t wait to be sent more and more safety messaging? That’s pretty cool.”
The account uses humor and parody to appeal to a younger demographic.