Royal Lifesaving WA and 303 MullenLowe call on a wave of ‘Mermates’ to tackle drink drowning

Royal Lifesaving WA and 303 MullenLowe call on a wave of ‘Mermates’ to tackle drink drowning

Royal Lifesaving WA has launched a new digital campaign via 303 MullenLowe aimed at reducing the number of young Western Australians who are drowning while drinking alcohol around water.


The campaign harnesses an unlikely voice to encourage young people to speak up and look out for each other – ‘Mermates’.

John Linton, 303 MullenLowe Head of Planning, said: “In the moments of truth when young people are getting into danger, we know it’s their mates who have the best chance of getting through to them. But we also know how hard it is for them to say something in these situations. We wanted to destigmatise doing the right thing by creating a persona our heroes could use to call out their mates’ stupid behaviour.”

Richard Berney, 303 MullenLowe Executive Creative Director, added: “Lifesaving isn’t generally funny. But it should be – at least in this case. ‘Be a Mermate’ arms young people with comedy to get their drunk mates away from water. It’s a ridiculous idea, and about right if you’re 18-to-24 with a drink in your hand.”

“Our Mermates aren’t dissimilar to the iconic maidens from maritime fables of days gone by, but with more beards, love handles and golden armpit hair. And, instead of seducing men towards their doom, we’re appealing to Mermates to lure their mates away from it,” said Melita Masters, Senior Writer.

Lauren Nimmo, Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager, said: “We continue to be concerned by the influence that alcohol has on drowning amongst young people – particularly young males. The ‘Mermates’ campaign will help to affect behaviour change by giving young people practical tips for how to talk their mates out of danger. We are hoping that it will create a powerful way to turn peer to peer messaging into action to prevent drowning.”

With the help of planning from Mediahub, the dishy fish are releasing their siren song far and wide across digital video, social media, YouTube and a via Punkee content partnership.

303 MullenLowe also facilitated a corporate partnership between Royal Lifesaving WA and Rusty Australia that will see the brand’s ambassadors add their voice to the campaign and a line of co-branded merchandise released in 2020.

Client: Royal Life Saving WA
Lauren Nimmo – Senior Manager, Health and Promotion
Georgia Eaton – Coordinator, Health and Promotion & Research 

Agency: 303 MullenLowe Perth
Head of Planning: John Linton
Executive Creative Director: Richard Berney
Senior Copywriter: Melita Masters
Art Director: Bianca Galan-Dwyer, Stephen Hansen
Media Planning: Kylie Macey, René Migliore
Business Lead: Todd Baker
Business Manager: Eloise Cribb
Producer: Rozanne Fretz
Design / Animation: Alby Furfaro, Jake Ransom, Andrew Allingham

Production Company: Imaginary Creatures / Boogie Monster
Director: Drew Kendell
Producer: Steve Vojkovic
Sound: Mike Fragomeni – Cue Sound