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‘Restart a Heart’/ British Heart Foundation

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Social networks have flourished as the medium of choice for marketing initiatives of late, so it is little surprise that the British Heart Foundation (BHF) turned to Twitter for their recent work. However, the charity has gone the extra mile by integrating one of Twitter’s popular user functions into its latest effort, the ‘Restart a Heart’ campaign.


To mark Restart a Heart day on 18th October, the BHF adopted Twitter’s heart button to get the public involved in its awareness drive. The heart emoji, which was introduced to the social network towards the end of 2015, allows users to ‘like’ each other’s tweets. However the BHF has skilfully repurposed the button in order to send out automated replies to users, bringing the Restart a Heart initiative - which aims to train 100,000 more people in cardiopulmonary resuscitation - into public consciousness.




A tweet from the BHF encourages Twitter users to imagine that they are casually browsing the social media site when they experience a cardiac arrest. The tweet invites the user to press the heart button and see what happens next in the imaginary scenario. Users are dealt their fate by an automatic response from the BHF account. Based on statistics that prop up the Restart a Heart campaign, namely that only 1 in 10 people survive a heart attack that occurs outside of hospital, 90% of users will receive a reply telling them that they were an unlucky one and did not pull through the incident due to bystanders not performing CPR. The other 10% will find that fortune favoured them and their life was saved by a passer-by. 


The reply tweet also contains a link which directs the user to the BHF website where a video is available to find out more about the Restart a Heart campaign. Running under the slogan a ‘Nation of Lifesavers’, the Restart a Heart training day sees schools and communities across the nation taking part in CPR education courses, with the help of the UK Resuscitation Council, St John’s Ambulance Service, the British Red Cross and emergency services across the country.




The automatic reply function looks to be something that could now have potential for more advertisers. Although the usage of it in the BHF campaign is rather downbeat, the function itself makes for an effective campaign in that, by combining the like button with the automatic reply, it becomes both interactive and personalised, and therefore interesting and engaging for the audience.


Comparable to the Twitter ‘like’ button - the little heart - the BHF’s campaign is simple but effective. The bold facts and figures speak for themselves and the choice of social network to share this information allows it to be digested by thousands of minds in a unique way. Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF said of the work, “This pioneering campaign with Twitter will help us to highlight just how shocking cardiac arrest survival rates are in the UK today. We wanted to honestly reflect survival rates when communicating with people who engage with the campaign in order to highlight the vast number of lives that are needlessly lost.’ Whether the campaign is deemed positively impactful or a distressing shock tactic, by laying their cards on the social media table, the BHF has certainly got the public, and the media, talking about and taking notice of these statistics.


For those of us lacking the confidence and correct skills in order to help a fellow citizen out if they were to fall into cardiac arrest, the campaign is very touching. If we became witness to such an event, wouldn’t we so wish we knew the right skills to help out? As the BHF campaign declares, in countries that are more educated on CPR, out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates are higher. By making this link very clear, the charity is bound to see an impact of the number of people interested in learning CPR. A successful step towards its goal of a ‘Nation of Lifesavers’.