Third Sector Excellence Awards 2012: Communications Campaign - Winner: British Heart Foundation for Hands-only CPR

For an innovative campaign that reached its target audience or got its message across

The BHF's TV advert featured former footballer Vinnie Jones
The BHF's TV advert featured former footballer Vinnie Jones

The TV advert featuring the footballer-turned-actor Vinnie Jones performing hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the beat of Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees is arguably the most memorable charity campaign of the past year.

The British Heart Foundation launched its Hands-only CPR campaign in response to what it says are "abysmally low" cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK.

The charity partly attributes poor survival rates to the reluctance of bystanders to use CPR.

The BHF says potential lifesavers are put off because they lack knowledge about the procedure or because they are worried by the thought of performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

In an effort to change minds, it created a humorous film starring Jones to teach members of the public what to do if someone stops breathing. The film tells viewers to call 999 and then push hard and fast in the centre of the chest to the beat of the 1970s disco hit.

The advert was released on social media channels before being aired on TV in January. The charity also created a #hardandfast Twitter hashtag, which helped to spread news about the campaign. The advert proved an online hit, receiving two million views on YouTube. In total, 27 million adults are estimated to have watched the film.

Since the campaign was launched, 23 people are known to have used CPR learned from the film in medical emergencies. Paul Pinkney, who helped save his friend's life, can be heard in a recording of a 999 call saying: "I'm doing the Stayin' Alive thing."

During a pre-campaign survey, 74 per cent of respondents said a lack of confidence was a factor in preventing them performing CPR, and 77 per cent cited a lack of knowledge about the procedure. After the campaign, these figures had fallen to 65 and 70 per cent respectively.

Award judge Dean Russell, European social media director at Lewis PR, said the campaign was "brilliant". He added: "Bringing a sense of humour to a topic that it would be so easy to use shock tactics around is something the sector could and should learn from."

Watch the video:

JUDGING PANEL

Dean Russell, European social media director, Lewis PR

Ben Summerskill, chief executive, Stonewall

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OTHER FINALISTS

- Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art: The Turner Prize 2011

- Battersea Dogs & Cats Home: Staffies. They're Softer Than You Think

- Prison Radio Association and the Shannon Trust: Reasons to Read

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- Time to Change (Mind/Rethink): It's Time to Talk

- Read about the winning entries

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