Helpless campaign generates overwhelming
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 sja.org.uk 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
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
To request a free pocket guide, visit
page so you can be the difference
between a life lost and a life saved.