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Helpless campaign generates overwhelming response


St John Ambulance’s new campaign, Helpless, has made a strong impression on the public; gaining an overwhelming response for free first aid guides, alongside extensive media attention, in just over a week.

Helpless, which highlights that up to 140,000 people die each year in situations where first aid could have helped save their lives – as many as die from cancer, launched with a hard-hitting TV advert during ITV1's Downton Abbey on Sunday 16 September. Over 14 million people have so far seen the advert, including around 117,000 YouTube viewers. Further coverage in the media about the campaign reached 34 million people.

Encouraging campaign results

Since the launch of the campaign, over 19,000 people have requested a free pocket guide, with 5,000 texting during the advert’s airing in X Factor. An additional 3,300 people visited the charity’s website that hour – the most traffic ever recorded on at one time (breaking the record set the week before when the advert aired during Downton Abbey). In addition to requesting first aid guides, visitors to the site downloaded the charity’s free first aid app, watched first aid videos and played Rescue Run, its new first aid game.

National newspapers were quick to pick up on the vital message of the campaign with coverage appearing in the Mail on Sunday, The People, Daily Star Sunday, Sunday Express, The Guardian, Daily Mail and the Daily Express.

On Monday 17 September alone, the Helpless campaign featured nationally on ITV News, Sky News, BBC News, BBC 5 Live, BBC Breakfast and Daybreak and on regional TV shows, incorporating interviews with spokespeople and demonstrations of vital life saving first aid. Cancer survivor Anthony Burke, who needed first aid after choking on some steak, also shared his story

Message is being taken seriously

Sue Killen, St John Ambulance Chief Executive, said: ‘The results of the campaign are very encouraging and show that our message is being taken seriously. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re delighted that it’s had the desired effect of equipping more people with basic first aid knowledge.

‘We’re sorry to those who feel our tactics are too harsh but we hope those people realise that this advert will save lives. It has been said to be shocking but then it’s shocking when someone dies who could have had a chance to live. Our work is vital if we’re to reduce the number of lives being needlessly lost each year.’

To request a free pocket guide, visit the Helpless page so you can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.