Distinctiveness can even save lives: British Heart Foundation

This week I saw a fascinating story about how Grey helped The British Heart Foundation create distinctive memory structure to actually help save people suffering from heart attacks. Now, if that's not an endorsement of the power of distinctiveness, what is ?! 
The brief was to give people the confidence to use "hands only CPR" (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to save heart attack sufferers. The rather dry brief was to get people to push up and down hard at 100 beats per minute. You can click below on the blog to watch the ad, or see it here on YouTube. It won an effectiveness prize at Cannes, and is credited with saving at least 40 people. 
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Here's some learning from this story.
1. The power of brand properties
The campaign cleverly uses distinctive brand properties to get noticed and, most importantly, be remembered. The challenge is helping people remember what to do when in the stressful situation of being faced with someone having a cardiac arrest.
First, there is the use of a celebrity, Vinnie Jones, an ex-footballer and actor famous for playing the tough guy in movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Second, the campaign uses the music from Staying Alive by the Bee Gees to get across the right speed at which to push; this is much more memorable than simply saying "Push at x beats per minute).
The power of these properties was shown by one person dialling 999 and telling the emergency services "I'm doing the Staying Alive thing!" Other life savers said they were "Doing a Vinnie". 

2. Amplification across channels
The campaign idea was ignited in a tv advert, but then amplified across multiple channels, including a mobile app and social media, with 3.7 million YouTube views (this is an example where you can see the value of socail media!). One of the big advantages of creating a campaign with distinctive brand properties like the Vinnie character and the music is the way these make it easier to amplify the idea like this.
3. Driving reach
The key objective of any campaign should be to maximise brand reach to as many people as possible. The amplification across channels described above helped do this. An extra step was creating an adaptation of the film using a "son of Vinnie" character to use in school eduction programmes. What genius to create an entertaining film for teachers to use that kids would actually enjoy watching and are more likely to remember.
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4. Immersive insight
One of the most interesting parts of the story was where the inspiration came from to use the Staying Alive music. It turns out this came from talking to ambulance men who had to do CPR, and suggested this was the perfect rhythm to use!  This is a great example of getting insight from different sources to help "fuel" idea creation.
5. Fresh consistency
Follow up versions of the film were done to add freshness, starring people who had actually had their lives saved by someone "doing a Vinnie" on them, with an example here. Consistency came from using Vinnie Jones, the same Staying Alive music and Vinnie's hardman coat, this time also worn by the survivor.
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In conclusion, the Grey/BHF campaign shows just how powerful distinctive brand properties can be.
The only sad note to the story is that the BHF have given their account to another agency on cost saving grounds. The high risk is that the BHF and their new agency walk away from the Vinnie campaign on search of something new, missing out on the chance to further amplify a great idea.
For the full case on video, go here