New Zealand's twisted water safety campaign via FCB NZ proclaimed 'Instagram's latest star'

Hero image (1).jpgThe Swim Reaper has officially opened "the Reaping Season" in his uniquely macabre style. It's a very different kind of safety message he has for young swimmers - one with a deeply dark and humorous twist. It's an approach that's earned him an enviably large Instagram following and garnered international acclaim from news media giants like Bored Panda, Buzzfeed and MTV:

"The Swim Reaper Instagram account is absolute gold,"  - Bored Panda.

"A country created a viral vacationing "Swim Reaper" and people love it,"  - Buzzfeed.

"NZ's water safety mascot is going viral for all the right reasons,"  - MTV.
The character, created by FCB New Zealand for Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) and ACC, targets the at-risk demographic of young men aged 15 to 34, who disproportionately account for more than one-third of preventable drownings.

Says Jonty Mills, CE of WSNZ: "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."

With a staggering 174,000 followers on Instagram it's little wonder the campaign is being described in glowing terms by media across the globe, with British news company The Sun proclaiming The Swim Reaper, "Instagram's latest star".

Says Tony Clewett, ECD, FCB New Zealand: "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 Swim Reaper has cashed in on his fame locally, hosting a PR event at Mission Bay in Auckland last week, where TVNZ, Newshub, Stuff and NZ Herald were all present to watch him cut the ribbon on the Reaping Season - a sign to all that he's started his work in earnest. And, a strong message for young swimmers who think they're invincible, summed up best by his campaign line - "Swim dumb and you're done".
Check out the Swim Reaper on Instagram here.

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