Introduction: The objective of this campaign was to reduce the number of lives lost to the lethal gas, carbon monoxide (CO).
Background: Research had shown that, despite repeated campaigns of the conventional ‘public information’ kind, people were not sufficiently well informed about the carbon monoxide – what causes it, how to prevent it and what to do to – for further deaths to be avoided.
We created Tommy McAnairey as a creative device to engage the public with the issue. Tommy is a canary who, having lost many relatives detecting the gas down the coalmines, has dedicated his life to singing trad ballads about the subject.
Although Tommy was created in 2014, it was in September 2015 that he truly broke new ground. In order to raise maximum awareness for Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, Tommy did what any singer-songwriter with an urgent message to spread would do: he released a charity single.
Tommy promoted his single through music-industry channels and means (e.g. by sending it to radio DJs directly, radio airplay, record shop presence, interview and cover presence on Hot Press magazine, presence on the Wall of Fame in Temple Bar, cover versions by other artists) as well as more conventional advertising channels (TV, radio, press). All the while, Tommy manned Twitter, commenting as his single climbed the iTunes download charts! The track made it to no.1 iTunes Ireland’s Singer-Songwriter download charts.
Effectiveness: Regarding the effectiveness of the campaign, spontaneous recall of it was 73% in November 2015. This was higher than any previous CO awareness campaign, and significantly higher than advertising norms generally.