Heart and Stroke Foundation

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For more than 60 years, Canadian families have looked to the Heart and Stroke Foundation to help them improve their health every day. The challenges faced by our population today are different, but no less compelling than those faced 60 years ago when the Foundation was created.

Time to Respond.

A critical challenge

The Heart and Stroke Foundation was working on an awareness campaign for cardiac arrest. Research had shown that people were unprepared to deal with a heart attack within the 3-minute window required to save a life.

Together with our partner on the project, Watershed Group, we decided to create an app that would entertain, engage and communicate the time-sensitive nature of the subject in a way that reading text in a brochure or on a web page would lack.

We created the CPR app to demonstrate that the first couple of minutes following cardiac arrest are critical.

Engaging learners

Knowing how to save someone experiencing cardiac arrest doesn’t really help if you’re the one having the heart attack. The insight was to encourage people to get their friends to learn CPR (an act that could literally save their life.)

We built an app that would create an engaging experience that would stick with people, train them to deal with sudden heart failure and, more importantly, give them the urgent desire to share it via email and social media. (“Hey, I learned how to do this to save your life, now you now need to learn this too.”)

While the subject matter was serious, the app also needed to be fun.

We named it Call. Push. Restart. (sharing the same acronym as the proper name for CardioPulmonary Resuscitation) and incorporated the necessary steps (Call 911, perform CPR to the same rhythm as the song “Staying Alive”, properly deploy and use a defibrillator—Clear!) There was also a random element of surprise.

Users needed to respond to scenarios whenever they were notified by the app within in a one, two or four-hour window. Results (good or bad) could be shared with friends and followers.

Lifesaving results

The campaign was the most successful initiative in the history of the foundation. In addition to 25,000 downloads from the iOS and Google Play app stores, the British Columbia campaign also generated significant news coverage.

CBC News reported on the app and shared stories of the entire newsroom getting involved in the act. We figured it was a good indicator of success if people with lives as hectic as reporters, editors and news anchors could enjoy our app.

During its initial launch in April, Call. Push. Restart. was one of the top 5 Health and Fitness apps in Canada.

A few months later, we rolled out an update with additional scenarios and a coupon for $200 off an AED for anyone who downloaded and shared the app.

The tool continues to be used (and potentially save lives) to this day.