St Johns Ambulance- Right or Wrong?

by leeshb


Watching this advert for the first time, it did make me quite sad to see how it had been executed by the agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. From an emotional perspective, watching the man battle cancer in 1.30 minutes and then to spend the last 30 seconds watching him die through choking to death on a burger was shocking. “Shockvertising” as it’s also known is usually used to make the audience pay attention more than they regularly would using unexpected situations.

After I saw the advert a few more times, I understood the rational idea behind the advert and why it was executed the way it was. Simply showing how somebody can fight cancer, even with a low survival ratio, can still die from choking, something that can easily be prevented through First Aid knowledge. In the advert, nobody knew first aid. In my eyes, this is realistic as many people believe that there will be “someone else” who WILL know. This isn’t the case and this is what St Johns Ambulance wanted to make people aware of.

I can understand the 144 complaints from viewers that are particularly sensitive towards the subject of cancer or are distressed from the blunt effect of the advert. The advert intends to shock viewers and some may be more emotional towards the subject than others. However I think that the ASA made the right choice not to restrict the ad (also it isn’t aired before 9pm). I personally think that it’s important for viewers to be made aware of First Aid, this advert even made me “Text ‘HELP’ to ‘84025’ for a free first aid guide”.

An effective advert with a good spin on how choking can be just as life threatening as cancer.

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Client: St John Ambulance
Sector: Health
Country: United Kingdom