UK

St John's Ambulance First Aid Advert Aims To Shock You Into Action

16/09/2013 08:11 BST | Updated 16/09/2013 14:04 BST

A collaboration between St John's Ambulance and the man behind the emotive John Lewis commercials has produced a hard-hitting advert urging people to learn first aid.

A seemingly innocent kickabout between a father and his son takes a tragic turn when the young boy falls heavily from a tree.

Not to worry though, his mother - who is a St John's Ambulance volunteer - is on hand to administer first aid.

first aid

Don't let this be you

Or is she?

The emotive ad comes in the wake of the shocking statistic that 41% of people say it would take the death of a loved one to make them learn first aid.

Viewers are encouraged to visit www.sja.org.uk/savetheboy to take part in an interactive experience where they can save the boy.

On their smartphone or on the desktop the user is asked to swipe the screen or click a mouse at various points to help the father carry out first aid and move the boy into the right position to enable him to survive.

The creative mind behind the ad is Dougal Wilson - think John Lewis’s Christmas commercials and 3’s moonwalking pony - who offered his services for free.

He said: "When I was asked to get involved in this campaign I was already committed to another project but it proved hard for me to turn down.

"Someone needed my help but I didn’t know first aid, and I will always feel I could have done more.

"First aid is so simple to learn and I hope this film encourages more people to be the difference between life and death."

The campaign was developed after research from St John Ambulance showed:

  • Two-fifths (41%) of people say it would take the death of a loved one to make them learn first aid
    • Over half of parents (55%) lack the skills necessary to save their child in the event of a life-threatening accident

    • Instead of intervening and putting the boy in the advert into the recovery position, which would save his life, most people (57%) fear doing something wrong and would do nothing until the emergency services arrived by when it may be too late

St John's last campaign, Helpless, showed that 140,000 people died each year in situations where first aid could have helped save their lives.

Sue Killen, St John Ambulance Chief Executive, said: "It’s devastating that over two-fifths (41%) of people say it would take something as severe as the death of a loved one to make them learn first aid.

"Unfortunately, our volunteers can’t be everywhere so we’ve developed an online experience to help more people be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

"We don’t want anyone to be helpless in a first aid situation especially when learning life saving skills is so simple."

To read the story of a woman who lost her son because no one knew first aid, and of case studies where first aid was the difference between a life lost and a life saved click here.