London Air Ambulance campaign counts the cost of providing the charity's service

Air ambulance bosses have chosen to promote the work of their service by deliberately not showing it in a bid to focus on the money needed to keep it running, as part of an awareness drive launched this week.

A campaign film by London's Air Ambulance centres on the cost of providing the life-saving service rather than actually treating people.

Released on Monday as part of this year’s National Air Ambulance Week, the short film features medics rushing to a waiting helicopter after reports of a seven-year-old girl who has been hit by a large vehicle.
But the victim is never seen or heard.

Instead, the film uses on-screen graphics to hammer home the point that the air ambulance is a charitable endeavour that costs money to run. 

Costs ranging from a penny for a pair of rubber gloves to 12 pence for a syringe and a helicopter engine for £250,000 are among those highlighted in the new film, which ends with the messages: "we could not treat her without your donations" and "London’s Air Ambulance is a charity."

The new film is being promoted across social media channels such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

London's Air Ambulance has to find almost £8m annually to provide an emergency response to around 2,000 critically injured patients within the M25 each year.

The air ambulances that operate across Britain raise £120m a year between them, operate 37 helicopters, and have a volunteer network of over 2,500 people.

Siobhra Murphy, head of PR and communications at the charity, told PRWeek: "Earlier this year we carried out research that confirmed what we already suspected; two thirds of people in London do not know or are unsure that London’s Air Ambulance is a charity. People also believe that our sole operation is to transport people to hospital. We often focus on emotive content in the charity and while it performs well, there is a deep-rooted misconception about how we are funded and what we do and it’s a challenge to change that."

She added: "We wanted to test something different and assess whether it might have more cut through with our audience. The focus on cost shows people what their donations can help buy, but by looking at the different bits of equipment, we also hope to educate our audiences more subtly that we are essentially a mobile emergency department, and not just a helicopter."

Murphy commented: "We have kept the messaging and call to action simple in this video. In just 24 hours it is already one of our highest performing pieces of digital content but we look forward to analysing it once National Air Ambulance Week is over."

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