Heart and Stroke Foundation
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Campaign

Shocking knowledge

Do you know the difference between sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack? Turns out, most people don’t. And yet, understanding this could be the difference between life and death.



Context was engaged by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to develop what originally was envisioned as an awareness campaign about automated external defibrillators (AEDs), the devices used to resuscitate individuals who have suffered sudden cardiac arrest. This two-year campaign was designed to support the BC Public Access to Defibrillation (PAD) Program, which will see AEDs installed in every community in British Columbia over the next few years.

It wasn’t long after we began the project, however, that we recognized, in fact, that people don’t understand what sudden cardiac arrest is, let alone how to respond with an AED. Most people don’t know, for example, that there are no warning signs for a sudden cardiac arrest compared to a heart attack. Or that without an AED a victim of sudden cardiac arrest is unlikely to survive.
Our first campaign objective therefore was to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest – highlighting its potential to strike anyone, anywhere, anytime and teach people what to do if they encounter a victim suffering from sudden cardiac arrest. The first year of the two-year campaign focused on this awareness component, building the ground level foundation around sudden cardiac arrest and why AEDs are needed everywhere. In year two of the campaign, as these devices are rolled out across communities, the goal will be to shift focus from awareness of sudden cardiac arrest toward a greater emphasis on the AEDs themselves and where they are located in communities.

This campaign is an example of how understanding the underlying issues ultimately leads to the most effective and relevant solution to any given challenge.


  • Get Social
    Linking offline and online elements of the campaign, a Facebook contest encouraged people to spot our ads in the transit stations, and upload their photos to the Heart and Stroke Facebook page.

  • Watch It

    A Public Service Announcement shot for the campaign garnered wide media exposure.

  • Signs, Seen and Delivered
    A series of floor decals placed in busy transit stations grabbed the public’s attention while introducing them to our key messages in a step-by-step sequence – making it easier for people to register and retain this important information.