Matthew Miller
Apr 24, 2014

Parent's nightmare makes uncompromising case for first-aid training

AUSTRALIA - A pleasant poolside afternoon turns quickly to tragedy in a confrontational campaign from St John Ambulance in Western Australia.

Difficult to watch, the 60-second TVC (above) dramatises in terrifying fashion the potential consequences of lacking first-aid training. 

The campaign by Perth's The Brand Agency launched on 13 April and will run for two months in Western Australia in its initial burst. It includes TV, radio, online, press and direct marketing. The client and agency plan further bursts through to the end of 2014.

“That’s exactly what it’s like if you haven’t had first-aid training," said James Sherriff, St John's general manager, metropolitan ambulance. "There’s a barrier preventing you from helping the other person. No matter whether it is a loved one or complete stranger, you feel instantly powerless to lend assistance.”
The agency pitched six ideas, but the "brave and ambitious" client approved the barrier concept because of its powerful metaphor and then doubled the budget to ensure the spot would be done properly, according to an agency spokesperson. The agency reports positive responses so far, with people using words like 'powerful' and 'frightening' but acknowledging that the strong approach is appropriate. The 60-second ad carries an 'M' rating, which means it can only run on television after 8:30 pm.

Craig Buchanan, The Brand Agency creative director, praised the production team for the technically challenging shoot (here's a brief behind the scenes video). Director Grant Sputore added that the biggest win during the creative process was finding actress Alison Van Reeken. "All of the technical work involved in making it appear she was on the surface of the water, and that our young boy had hit his head, would have been pointless if we didn't have an actress who could make this scene feel real for the people watching at home," Sputore said.



Creative team: Craig Buchanan and David Donald
Agency Producer: Gemma Kay
Media Director: Angela Naaykens
Writer (radio): Mitch Mitchell
Director: Grant Sputore, Penguin Empire
Producer: Kelvin Munro
DoP: Allan Myles
Special effects: Last Pixel
Sound design: Brad Habib, Soundbyte
Radio production: Brainestorm
Account Director: Holly Creasey
Client: Arley Grey

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