IT takes all sorts to become an Instagram star these days.
The latest social media celebrity is one of the weirdest yet though – the grim reaper.
The black-cloaked character of death has been taken on by Water Safety New Zealand to warn people about the risk of drowning in the run-up to summer.
Known as the “Swim Reaper” on Instagram, the character can be seen carrying a surfboard, playing volleyball, and even acting as a lifeguard in darkly funny holiday snaps.
The campaign was set up by Water Safety New Zealand, based in Wellington, as a way to target at-risk young men, aged 15 to 30.
Despite only making up 14 per cent of the population, young men account for around a third of all fatal incidents annually in New Zealand.
What started as a small national campaign has gained worldwide attention though – with the account attracting more than 94,000 followers.
The tagline for social channel is “Swim dumb and you’re done” — and it hopes to engage more young men in its message than traditional methods.
Jonty Mills, CEO of Water Safety New Zealand, said: “A lot of these drownings [of young men] are what we would describe as preventable fatalities.
“Lives would be saved if young males simply made smarter decisions around water.”
He continued: “However, this audience can react badly to being told what to do – it is a struggle to get positive safety messages through to them.
“Through the Swim Reaper’s dark humour, he illustrates the deadly consequences of making bad decisions around water.”
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