2017 Nonprofit PR Awards

Public Service Announcement

American Heart Association – Don’t Die of Doubt

Hospital data collected in North Texas from 2010-2012 indicated as many as 60% of people experiencing a heart attack drove themselves to the hospital rather than calling 911. With this in mind, the American Heart Association (AHA) set out to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack to increase recognition at the first sign, and to educate the public on the value of calling 911 immediately.

The AHA selected media outlets that reached the highest volume of people within its target markets at the most efficient cost. The strategy included requesting in-kind matching contributions from media partners to help share the message more broadly. In 2015, the first year of the program, AHA garnered more than 127 million impressions with a media buy of less than $900,000 split primarily between network and cable TV, print (local newspapers and publications), outdoor billboards and digital marketing with placement strategically targeting high-risk demographics.

The 2016 media buy exceeded the number of impressions received in 2015 with no increase in budget. After reviewing testing results, AHA adjusted its buy to add radio and direct-to-consumer marketing through direct mail and door hangers in target areas of Dallas County. AHA also employed an aggressive grassroots strategy, leveraging community health events and a highly qualified speaker’s bureau to take the message “to the streets” and meet the public where they’re at.

More than 20 speakers were trained and have attended events speaking directly to the "Don’t Die of Doubt" message including heart attack signs and the importance of calling 911. Community and healthcare partners gave AHA a presence at over 35 health fairs and public events in addition to AHA events. AHA also reached more than 18,000 people in the community through speaking engagements and grassroots activities.

Based on mid-campaign results, AHA saw a 13% increase in people saying they would call 911 as their first action if they were having or witnessing a heart attack.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Inc. - Shabbat Candle Lighting Time Announcement
  • Schmidt Public Affairs on behalf of The American College of Rheumatology - Don’t Ignore the Signs: Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month PSA Featuring Actress Jennie Garth