New Effort Pushes Hands-Only CPR

American Heart Association, Ad Council Promote Life-Saving Technique

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A different type of life-saving emergency treatment, hands-only CPR, is being promoted in a new PSA campaign from the American Heart Association and the Ad Council. The effort, which was launched this week, encourages bystanders to use this form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation when an adult collapses and is unresponsive.

The campaign, created pro bono by Gotham, New York, promotes the two-step technique that involves calling 911 and pushing hard and fast in the center of the victim's chest until professional help arrives. The effort includes TV, radio, print, outdoor and web PSAs that direct people to for information and an instructional video on the technique.

Web site visitors can also download a free application for their smartphone that teaches the technique. The app is available for the Android (Google), BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod Touch and Palm Pre platforms.

"It's a rare occasion when advertising can help save lives," said Peter McGuinness, CEO of Gotham, in announcing the effort. "We hope that, through this campaign, we can encourage all bystanders, trained or untrained, to do something when they see an adult suddenly collapse."

According to a 2008 American Heart Association survey, 44% of adults say they would not perform CPR because they're not confident in their ability, while consumer research shows that people often hesitate because they're not comfortable with giving mouth-to-mouth CPR.

"Hands-only CPR is an easy, effective technique that has the potential to save lives every day if we can educate more Americans about it and reduce their fears and hesitation," said Peggy Conlon, president-CEO of the Ad Council. "This new campaign beautifully depicts the power of hands in helping to save a life. I believe it will empower more bystanders to take action when they see someone in cardiac arrest."

To promote the online effort, the site includes an online tool, Hands Symphony, where visitors can create original music. Users can choose from sounds created by different filmed hands to create their own track and send it to their friends, encouraging them to create their own tracks or add on to other friends' tracks.