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The Resuscitation Council UK are on a mission to win a UK Digital PR Award

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Published Date 05.07.2023

Esther Kuku, Director of Communications and Engagement at Resuscitation Council UK

Your two hands could help save a life. At the Resuscitation Council UK our mission is to work towards the day when everyone in the country has the skills they need to save a life.

In the UK, around 73,000 people a year suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest  – that’s about 200 people every single day. Sadly, the survival rate is fewer than 1 in 10. And every minute that goes by without a person receiving CPR or defibrillation, the chance for survival falls by 10%.

Because 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, we wanted to create a national public-facing campaign which could engage and encourage all generations from every walk of life to learn CPR and have defibrillator awareness. Essentially, we wanted people to have the confidence and skills they need to save someone’s life in the event of the ultimate medical emergency.

The concept was to create a video where actor Connor Swindells (Sex Education, Emma, Barbie) performed CPR on a lifelike manikin of himself. We were keen to make this video resonate with a younger audience, so we chose to give the traditional manikin design a makeover. This approach added engagement and humour to the content, whilst also portraying a serious public awareness message.

The full Connor CPR video has since been edited into the five key steps of CPR, turning the fun advert into a reusable, sustainable educational digital communications asset.

In addition, we designed out-of-home advertising featuring Connor’s manikin with a slogan that said “We asked a famous actor to teach you CPR watch his big idea” to introduce intrigue and encourage people to scan our heart-shaped ‘CPQR’ code. Once scanned, the code instantly takes people to a short video to learn CPR.  

5,400 posters were displayed across 15 train networks, and 60 posters were placed in Odeon and Vue cinemas nationally. Our CPQR codes were also displayed on football team Brentford FC’s shirts in a match against Chelsea. Grassroots community football teams have since requested their own CPQR codes for their shirts.

As well as targeting a younger audience, we also wanted to reach diverse communities. There are hotspot areas of the country which have higher cases of sudden cardiac arrest and lower instances of bystander CPR – which means lower survival rates. These areas often have greater levels of deprivation and urbanisation, as well as a higher proportion of the population from Black, Asian and Mixed/Multiple Ethnic Backgrounds.

To make the campaign more relatable to these audiences, we wanted to secure a celebrity with a broader and more accessible reach, so we asked Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse to support us on this campaign.

We harnessed her dance skills to create a CPR TikTok dance called the #ResusCPRChallenge. This clearly broadened our reach and led to a wide selection of people from diverse backgrounds and age ranges engaging with our lifesaving campaign message. They copied the dance and then shared on their accounts. This extension of our campaign required no equipment – just a smartphone and the ability to copy the CPR dance moves.  

We plan to repeat the TikTok #ResusCPRChallenge on its one year anniversary to encourage another wave of individuals to view the original content and participate in the dance.

Our campaign is lifesaving and scalable. It effectively communicated its relevance and importance securing significant national and regional coverage, as well as substantial engagement across our digital channels. It’s making a difference and will continue to do so.

We can re-use the videos to keep spreading the message, while the Connor manikin can be used as a talking piece for future campaigns and can be taken around the country to festivals, schools and exhibitions, to be shown alongside the video. 

Our campaigning ambition is to ensure that everyone across the UK knows that their two hands could help save a life. Crucially, this campaign continues to inspire confidence in the ultimate medical emergency.

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