Cornwall intern Lucy shares her favourite campaign

Published by: Joe Baker

Published on: July 26, 2018

Float to live, a lifesaving campaign

This week creative agency Stuff are delighted to have Lucy Muggleton with us; a creative advertising student from Falmouth University.

Lucy has written a blog about a brand of real importance to Cornwall but also any other coastal environments: the RNLI. Plus, with Stuff being based in the coastal environments of Cornwall and Bristol as well, it’s a brand we also 100% support.

So why this campaign? Lucy said: “Falmouth University’s Woodlane campus, which is home to the Creative Advertising degree, is a five-minute walk from the beach. A perfect way of relieving creative block, but it is a reminder of how close 5,000 alcohol-guzzling students live to a potential death sentence. Water safety has been at the forefront of my mind since moving a year ago, but more so now, as I am a committee member for our universities sailing society. This is why this campaign is so important, because it could, one day, save my life or one of my friends. And, with Stuff now having a Cornish office, I figured there couldn’t be a better time to share this thought-provoking campaign.

The background

According to the RNLI, around 190 people die a year whilst undertaking leisure activities around our coast. The RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute)  took this issue and teamed up with Krow, a creative communications agency based in London to try and reduce these sobering figures. Thus, a campaign was crafted with the ultimate objective of educating people in what to do if they got into difficulties in the water; simple steps that could save lives.

The audience

RNLI’s campaign has a sound understanding of its audience, which is predominantly people that aren’t planning on entering the water. The campaign doesn’t single out one particular group; it is applicable to locals and holidaymakers, experienced and inexperienced swimmers alike. The timing of the campaign is indicative towards the target audience too, as it was launched during British summertime, when coastal regions are busy. It ran through different medias, including outdoor posters, radio ads (and Spotify), online and was also shown on catch-up television and in cinemas too.

The work

The campaign urges people to resist their natural instincts of fighting the water. As such it teaches one simple thing: that by staying calm and floating, they will have control of their breathing and then be calm enough to make an informed decision on what to do next.  

One of the key reasons this campaign has been so successful is because of it’s big idea ‘Float to live’. The tagline captures the essence of the entire campaign in three words. All headlines then relate back to this and are equally as memorable ‘extend your arms, legs and life expectancy’ to ‘Head back, float. Come back, alive’.


Similar to other public information advertising campaigns, it includes graphic content and shows the audience what it is like to drown. The minute-long TV ad shows men and women, all dressed in a variety of clothing styles struggling against the water whilst experiencing cold-water shock. But before it is too late for the actors, they all float to survive. This makes this campaign distinctive, as it is teaching the audience key water survival skills, in a striking way.

An emotional plea

The tone of this advert triggers an emotional response from the audience, which is another reason for its success. With over 300 glorious beaches in Devon and Cornwall, thousands of tourists holiday here a year, expecting to have fun. This advert is a harsh reminder of how dangerous the water can be, and a reminder that although relaxing is fine, people must always remain vigilant when around coastal areas.

Getting the work right in front of the audience

Despite the campaign being heavily reliant on print and video advertising, it does touch upon ambient advertising. The campaign sees the introduction of a pint glass with copy relating to both ‘Float to live’ and the correlation between drinking alcohol and drowning. The use of which gets the messaging right in front of the potential audience.   

In conclusion, this campaign is a successful and important one that tackles a very real issue that most people don’t consider on a daily basis. It equips the general population with the right knowledge to potentially save their own life. In fact, six lives were saved in the first 12 weeks of the campaign, which was a direct result of the line ‘Float to live’. The long-term figures show the campaign to be a successful one. Since the launch in summer 2017 drowning deaths in the South-West have dropped from 33 in 2016 to 18 in 2017.  Watch the ad here and you can also find out more on the campaign website.

Joe Baker

Managing Director

Joe has over 18 years experience in Design, Brand, Advertising, Communications, Digital & Video. Passionate about the industry, very hands-on a big believer in a collaborative design approach.

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