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A Country Created A Viral Vacationing "Swim Reaper" And People Love It

"New Zealand has the weirdest mascots."

Posted on November 14, 2017, at 11:07 a.m. ET

Meet the Swim Reaper.

He's very much enjoying the summer in New Zealand, just hanging at the beach and by rivers.

Looking all ominous and stuff.

His Instagram is pretty neat.

And people are loving it.

Okay, so the Swim Reaper is actually part of a campaign by the government of New Zealand.

Jonty Mils, chief executive of Water Safety New Zealand, told BuzzFeed News the Swim Reaper was developed "to promote preventable drowning deaths, especially of young males."

Mils said his organization finds it a struggle to engage with its audience as young people "react badly to being told what to do," so the humor of the Swim Reaper character helps.

“Through the Swim Reaper’s dark humour, we have been successfully spreading water safety messages without sounding nagging," Mils said.

The account has been active since last December and has over 93,000 followers. The Swim Reaper often interacts with followers or comments on photos of people diving in unsafe spots.

It's weird, but it works.

New Zealand has the weirdest mascots. First the orange guy who promotes people to go out and vote. And today I lea…

This post was translated from Japanese.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.