Ambulance Victoria

Ambulance Victoria’s membership scheme, the source of 25 per cent of its operating budget, was losing 8,500 members a month to private health insurers. At the same time acquisition rates had fallen to 4,500 per month. Ambulance Victoria asked DPR&Co to stem member attrition and restore the scheme to growth.


While the previous campaign was working well at positioning Ambulance Victoria, it was not positioning membership correctly – as a valuable insurance product that covered services private health insurers often didn’t. This meant positioning membership as an insurance product and highlighting the very significant financial risks of not being covered.

To establish greater campaign credibility, we leveraged community trust in in Ambulance Victoria paramedics (consistently rated as Victoria’s most admired group of professionals) by keeping them front and centre of the initial campaign. They were present in some way in every message.

We adopted direct response advertising modes to encourage immediate action (It’s not enough to join. Join now!). We modelled membership profiles and segmented the audience to be able to manage the optimum balance of older low cost-to-acquire/high cost-to service-members with their younger and less needy counterparts. Along the way, we evolved from 100 per cent mainstream media to a 40/60 mainstream/digital engagement.

Our work on Ambulance Victoria’s pathway-to-purchase or P2P saw us redesign the customer-contact process, including everything from call centre scripts and Web content for member conversion and retention, as well as the introduction of SMS renewal notices, reminders and win-back.

Finally, we transitioned almost a million members to low-cost online communications, sign-ups and renewals, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per annum – most of which went to enhancing Ambulance Victoria service delivery.


In the first month, we delivered 4,000 net new members.  This increased to 70,000 new members in the first year, 40,000 of whom were under 40 – the highest-value target demographic.

Member cost of acquisition fell from $93 to $32. Resignations fell from an average of 8,500 to 5,600 per month.

Campaign ROI over a 12-month period was 140 per cent. Over an average customer lifespan, the ROI was approximately 1,800 per cent.