British Red Cross

The crisis relief charity held an online house party on Facebook as part of its first-aid campaign

British Red Cross Life. Live It video
British Red Cross Life. Live It video

What is it? 

Young people were encouraged to watch a house party on Facebook, during which they saw a young girl collapse. The video showed the first-aid skills they would need were they to face a similar situation. The Facebook event marks the launch of the British Red Cross’s 2012 Life. Live It campaign, which will address a number of issues affecting young people, including alcohol, drugs, self-harm and traffic accidents.

So what happened?

The charity invited up to 150 young people to attend a real house party, featuring a live gig with the band ROOM 94. The party-goers were not told what was happening but each received a text that disclosed the location on the day of the party.

The party was then streamed live on Facebook. Those taking part online were able to influence the live action by voting on everything, from which music should be played to whether strangers should be allowed to enter.

What happened next?

At 10pm, while the band was playing, the event took a more serious turn when one of the actors collapsed and people at the party and those watching online had to intervene to 'save' the young woman’s life.

Another actor then entered the room and put the young girl in the recovery, or pushover, position. Paramedics (also actors) appeared and took her to hospital.

Watch a video of higlights from the night:


How was it promoted?

In order to get the maximum number of viewers, the charity used specially targeted Facebook advertising to promote information about the event, which then appeared 6,368,854 times on the profiles of 13 to 18-year-olds.

Why did they do it?

Fiona Smith, head of marketing and brand development at the British Red Cross, says: "This is a truly innovative way of communicating first aid to a youth audience. We asked young people what they wanted to know and what was relevant to their lives, and responded to that. By communicating directly with teenagers and working with schools, we want to build a generation of young people who have the confidence to act to save lives."

What are the initial results?

Almost 17,000 people discussed the online party and first aid on Facebook during the event – about the same as the number of people discussing EastEnders (15,519).

What’s happening next?

Footage from the live Facebook event will form part of a new teaching resource that will be sent to every secondary school in the UK in early September. The Life. Live It teaching resource is the result of a pilot project in 19 schools in Hull in 2011, carried out in conjunction with local communication company Force-7.

Third Sector verdict:

This fun and exciting campaign is a great way of making first aid appealing to young people. Making the Facebook page interactive by allowing viewers to determine what happened at the party, Big Brother-style, ensured that it kept their attention. Inviting 150 people to attend the party also ensured word of mouth after the event.

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