Public Service Advertising Campaign Harnesses Heartbeats to Fight Child Mortality

A song that features the heartbeats of children will serve as the heart of a new public service advertising campaign from Save the Children, an organization committed to lowering childhood mortality rates, and the Advertising Council. This “Every Beat Matters” advertising campaign will incorporate the song “Feel Again” by rock group OneRepublic. The ad campaign is an effort to gain financial and political support for Save the Children’s newborn and child survival efforts, mainly overseas. The New York Times reported on the new life-saving campaign by advertising agency BBDO North America.

This is the second campaign from the advertising firm for this joint effort by Save the Children and the Ad Council. Its first ad campaign debuted in 2010 and featured real-life aid workers examining poverty-stricken children in Bangladesh and Ethiopia.

The new advertising campaign was inspired by a state-of-the-art stethoscope that can record a person’s heartbeat. In the new 90-second TV ad, a health worker who was actually trained by Save the Children prepares for work in a rural African village as an airplane flies overhead and delivers a box to him. Next, he goes into an area where he is surrounded by children as he opens the box containing that special stethoscope. He then uses the tool to record the children’s heartbeats as he examines them.

The scene suddenly cuts to a recording studio where OneRepublic listens to that recording of their heartbeats and incorporates it into the group’s song. The ad closes with the health worker walking in the African village and the grateful children running behind as the new song and a call-to-action voiceover play in the background.

In addition to the powerful TV ad, the integrated marketing campaign also features three print ads. Each is a portrait of a real health worker that is creatively comprised of numerous electrocardiogram images from children. This imagery is also used in Web banners. The TV spot and Web banners drive people to the website,

Supplemental outdoor advertising, radio spots, and social media marketing efforts promote the download of OneRepublic’s song. Lastly, an interactive kiosk allows people to plug their headphones into stethoscopes to listen to the song, along with a child’s heartbeat and a message from OneRepublic’s lead singer. All of the proceeds from the first 750,000 downloads of the song on iTunes will go to Save the Children.

Save the Children hopes that the inclusion of OneRepublic in the advertising campaign will bring younger audiences into the cause and attract more mainstream awareness about the need for financial and political support to help these children survive.

To learn more about the power of public service advertising, contact MDG.

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