“The vision, empathy, inventiveness and sheer creative fizz that H+K display has spread our message far and wide, giving us the opportunity to punch so far above our weight that we are achieving what we had not even dreamed of!” Professor Paul Middleton, chair of TAKE HEART AUSTRALIA

In its virgin year as an accredited charity, our pro bono client Take Heart Australia (THA) wanted to establish a strong voice in a crowded field. Their goal was to present their singular mission of decreasing the epidemic of Australian deaths from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and host a mass CPR training event at Allianz Stadium on Monday 30 November, in order to get as many Australians along and trained up.

Most Australians are oblivious to the sheer amount of unnecessary SCA-related deaths in this country.

For example, every year 30,000 Aussies suffer a SCA … but only 9-10% survive. In Seattle, the survival rate is 60%. Why? Because ¾ of their population is trained in CPR. Which means that every year 12,000 Aussies die who don’t have to.

It gets worse… SCA accounts for 20% of Australian deaths annually – more than lung cancer, accidents and strokes combined. And no, it’s not just old, overweight or unhealthy people: every week, 4 Aussies under the age of 35 die of SCA.

Sadly, what most people don’t realise is that simply calling an ambulance isn’t enough. After the heart stops, it takes 4-5 minutes for brain damage to kick in… but on average, it takes 8-10 min for paramedics to arrive. Which means that means those that do survive often suffer terrible brain damage.

Alas, even once people absorb theses sobering stats on SCA, it’s often still not enough to prompt them to learn CPR. So, how could we properly convey the importance of the issue to everyday Aussies in such a way as to galvanise them into taking action?

Our budget was zero.

What we did have was access to a few rare SCA survivors who were keen to relay their powerful stories, as well as compelling statistics around Australia’s woeful survival rates in comparison to other Western nations.

Additionally, Allianz Stadium donated their entire grounds to THA Day’s mass CPR training event on Monday November 30, with on-site training provided by the other respected charities – St Johns Ambulance, Ambulance Australia, the Royal Flying Doctors and Paramedic Australia.

We decided to come at it from a completely different angle. Rather than preach with scary statistics, we adopted a competitive approach. We let sports-loving Australians know we were being outclassed so they’d feel motivated to ramp up our own dire 9% survival rate in order to beat Seattle’s current 60% – and how learning CPR could turn these statistics around and beat Seattle. After all, no proud Aussie likes to being beaten by America at anything!

Via a staggered launch to key media in print, online, TV and radio, we would offer interview opportunities with our case studies as well as general pieces on the upcoming event of THA Day. Each piece would come with a call-to-action, alerting people to the thousands of resuscitation mannequins that would be set up at Allianz Stadium alongside qualified trainers where they could learn CPR for FREE!

Additionally, we came up with a BIG IDEA… Utilising award-winning puppeteer Heath McIvor (Sammy J and Randy, Walking With Dinosaurs), we constructed a puppet called “Resus Andy”,
a supposed resuscitation mannequin who had “come to life”. Featuring both the puppet (McIvor) and comedienne/sports columnist Tegan Higginbotham, we then shot a 9-episode mini web-series. Everyone donated their time. The cost? $0.

Launched via social media, the video content proved highly amusing and irreverent, relaying each of the campaign’s key messages and the dismal statistics around SCA whilst telling everyday Australians they had the power to change them.

In the end, the Resus Andy video content garnered thousands of views and likes, and garnered significant coverage in both mainstream media, radio and trade press.

Meanwhile, THA saw its social media membership climb exponentially, engagement increasing by 210%. In the same way, newsprint, online media, national TV and radio all came onboard for the campaign, with over 747 pieces reaching an estimated 17,259,349 eyeballs.

Over 4,500 people attended Take Heart Australia Day, including several schools, and were successfully trained up in high-quality CPR. Crucially, each person was then gifted their own CPR doll and tasked with teaching 10 more people what they learnt on the day.

A potential additional 45,000 Australians will now learn the basics of CPR, saving untold lives. Not only that, but THA is now an established charity in Australia, and all its very first year. And thanks to H+K, they also have a new brand mascot, Resus Andy.