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Video is on the rise. In fact, it was one of the key trends highlighted in our 2016 content marketing predictions.

Frankly I’m all for it. The quality of video content has gone through the roof in the last couple of years, and one campaign that deserves a special mention came from St. John Ambulance (SJA) last year. 

The campaign, complete with the necessarily bleak title of ‘The Chokeables’ – was so good that it won the video category of the 2015 Masters of Marketing awards.

Let’s take a look at the campaign and, most importantly, the results. 

The brief 

Through its own research SJA found that while 40% of people had witnessed their own baby choking, only 21% knew what to do in that situation. 

what to do when baby choking st john's ambulance

When St John’s Ambulance monitored Facebook it found similar insight. Its most-shared post prior to the campaign was an infographic illustrating what to do when a baby is choking.  

The idea was to make people rethink first aid. SJA found that only one in ten people were actually taking active steps to learn the skill, so it needed to reinvent the way it delivered the information. 

It wanted to make it as easy as possible to learn first aid by teaching it at the point of communication, i.e. through a quick and engaging video

So SJA set about creating an animated short film to teach parents how to help a choking baby.

It needed to be engaging enough that people would watch to the end and share, and it needed to be aimed at under-40s and pre-watershed. 

st john's ambulance the chokeables video campaign

The targets

SJA set out very clear targets based on what they thought success should look like. 

Those targets were: 

  • 29m TV views. 
  • 1.8m online views. 
  • 100 pieces of coverage. 
  • Increase knowledge of technique by 5%. 
  • Inspire further learning through 3,000 first aid video views.
  • Increase SJA relevance to audience by 5%. 

The work

Working with creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), SJA decided to teach the first aid technique using everyday small objects that babies could easily pick up and choke on.  

The characters – a pen lid, a peanut, a crayon, a marble, a small toy and a jelly baby –  were given the collective name ‘The Chokeables’ to create an identity that people could connect with and search for online. 

It’s also a pretty memorable (if somewhat unpleasant) moniker, I’m sure you’ll agree. 

st john's ambulance the chokeables video campaign

Celebrity funny types in the form of David Mitchell, Johnny Vegas, David Walliams and Sir John Hurt came on board to voice the characters in the short film to give it a light-hearted and humorous tone.

Here is the video in full:

As I mentioned in my post about Women’s Aid’s digital OOH ad campaign last week, when it comes to charity campaigns you have to really hammer it on the PR to get the most out of a limited budget. 

That’s exactly what SJA did: briefing journalists, producing research-led media releases with different angles depending on the audience, and keeping coverage momentum going buy making the most of ’success stories’ from people who had saved a baby’s life thanks to the campaign. 

st john's ambulance the chokeables pr coverage

st john's ambulance the chokeables pr coverage

st john's ambulance the chokeables pr coverage

There was a parent blogger event, social media competitions, external partnerships with sites such as Mumsnet

SJA launched an ebook called ‘The Pen that Lost its Lid’ to coincide with the main story, it engaged with MPs, and even used good-old-fashioned door-to-door and direct mail campaigns to maximise its reach.

This, along with PPC and email marketing activity, meant it was a truly multichannel campaign, but all hinging around that one brilliant video and a powerful message. 

The results

I included the desired numbers earlier on in this post. Let’s see how SJA faired against its own targets. 

  • 32m TV views. 
  • 8m online views.
  • 547 pieces of coverage and 19 blogger posts.
  • Increased knowledge of first aid technique by 24%.
  • Inspired further first aid learning through 300,000 first aid video views.
  • Increase SJA relevance to audience by 17%. 

As you can see, SJA absolutely smashed every single target it set out to achieve.

Facebook ended up using the campaign as a case study for successful video marketing, Netmums said it was their most shared post ever and Google search volume for ‘baby choking‘ was the highest it has ever been during the campaign period. 

Not only that but each each video view cost less than £0.01, so a fantastic return on investment. 

The most important result of all, however, was that a woman actually saved her baby’s life using knowledge she’d gained from the SJA campaign.

According to SJA, tens of mothers contacted it with similar stories in the months following the campaign.

Given how successful it was and the importance of the message, I can’t think of a more deserving winner of the award. 

Jack Simpson

Published 21 January, 2016 by Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

252 more posts from this author

Comments (1)


David Hunstone, Owner at Hub Productions

Just Brilliant... Please share with other humans

9 months ago

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