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Ads We Like: Runaway Train 25 video aims to recover missing children

By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

May 23, 2019 | 5 min read

Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train was one of the few hit music videos of the early 90s to make a social statement. Now the song and video are being remade to help the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) highlight the plight of missing children in the US.

Advertising agency M/H VCCP worked with the NCMEC on Runaway Train 25, a cross-industry initiative to reinvent the search for missing children. The video reinterprets the original with musical artists Jamie N Commons and Skylar Grey featuring Gallant.

Jamie N Commons

Jamie N Commons sings Runaway Train 25

The original video was directed by the lauded Tony Kaye and featured 36 missing kids. After it aired on MTV, 21 of those missing kids were recovered. Runaway Train 25 is directed by RSA Films’ Emmy-award winner Jake Scott and the record is produced by Grammy-nominated producer Jayson DeZuzio of KidInAKorner.

Runaway Train 25 uses geolocation technology to turn the music video content into a search tool to find missing children. The video automatically updates itself with the profiles of missing children from the NCMEC database based on a viewer's location, which people can share across Twitter and other social media platforms. The release comes ahead of National Missing Children's Day on 25 May.

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"We know that it only takes one person to find a missing child. Last year, NCMEC assisted law enforcement with over 25,000 cases of missing children, the vast majority were runaways," said NCMEC president and chief executive John Clark.

"This video is a game changer. It highlights critical issues runaways face and will show real pictures of missing children. By creating and sharing this video, everyone has the ability to make a difference in their communities. It's truly incredible. This would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of M/H VCCP and all of our amazing partners."

People can now visit to view the dynamic music video. Runaway Train 25 asks people who visit the website to share the music video on Twitter and other social media channels using #MissingKids and #RunawayTrain25 to help publicize cases through their personal networks and change the search for missing children across the country.

The site will have functionality to make it easier to find and report missing kids, such as pausing on the image of a child and reporting where they've been seen, in addition to allowing users to create and share a custom video for a missing loved one or someone missing from their community.

Digital billboards and transit screens nationwide will support the initiative using geo-targeted dynamic feeds to display photos of missing children by location. The donated ads will also drive users online to view and share the Runaway Train 25 music video.

"There is nothing more powerful than when a community comes together to solve a problem," said John Matejczyk, founder and chief creative officer, M/H VCCP. "NCMEC's Milk Carton campaign was one of the most ingenious, iconic campaigns ever. It was always current and always local. We conceived of Runaway Train 25 as a way to bring art and technology together to accomplish the same thing in video form for finding missing kids.

"On this passionate mission, we assembled a community of very talented and generous people and partners to help us. Now, we hope that Runaway Train 25 resonates with communities across the country so that NCMEC can bring home more kids than ever before."

Runaway Train 25 by MH VCCP

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