Who knew a song from '70s falsetto-sounding, soft-rock super-group the Bee Gees could actually save a life?
Research revealed that medical students and physicians trained on chest compressions as part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) were able to remain very close to the ideal rhythm of 100 compressions per minute while listening to the song “Stayin' Alive,” even weeks after completing training.
In October 2008, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) mounted a campaign to alert the public.
“Human beings can be shy when it comes to responding to an emergency situation,” says Julie Lloyd, PR manager of ACEP. “Anything that can help them gain the confidence to act will save lives. We had to get this message out.”
ACEP decided to partner with News Generation to help build awareness of the effort.
“To maximize ACEP's message, News Generation recommended an audio news release [ANR], which is a particularly effective way to get straightforward and succinct messages that require no elaboration on the air,” says David Beasley, marketing manager at News Generation.
The team produced and distributed an ANR with David Matlock, an emergency physician at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, to radio stations and networks in top-50 media markets.
News Generation also pitched and fed stories to stations and networks, including scripts of the ANR, and followed up with the outlets once the release was accepted. Beasley adds that the team offered the ANR in a number of formats, including script and audio on its Web site.
Additionally, the team encouraged stations to use the actual music as a lead in or close to the ANR.
“There is so much competition in the broadcast news cycle and print media is dwindling, but everyone is still listening to the radio,” Lloyd says. “Considering the money you pay, it provides the best return on investment.”
The ANR reached more than 31 million listeners, with a total of 11,290 airings on 4,826 stations and network affiliates across the US, according to ACEP. Also, the overall usage rate of the ANR was 39%.
The release aired on stations in 27 states across the country, including ABC News Network and Fox News Radio.
Since this campaign, ACEP is continuing to use radio to spread its messaging. ACEP and News Generation also continue to collaborate on radio projects like ANRs and radio media tours, including campaigns to promote legislation advocating for emergency physicians and patients.
This campaign benefitted from two things: the coincidence that a life-saving technique could be linked to one of the catchiest pop songs of all time and using radio as the main way to get that message out.
Radio is not only alive and well, it is growing with the advent of online and satellite channels, and now among the most cost-effective media to secure exposure for an issue.
It also helped that the firm put the ANR on its Web site, increasing consumers' opportunity to hear it.
PR team: American College of Emergency Physicians (Washington) and News Generation (Bethesda, MD)
Campaign: Stayin' Alive Helps CPR Chest Compressions
Duration: October 2008