Has BBH gone over the top in latest charity ad for St John’s Ambulance?

Bartle Bogle Hegarty is the acknowledged master of charity ads, usually managing to tell an interesting and convincing story while still tugging at the heartstrings/wallet (the two are synonymous in this context).

But is this new effort for St John’s Ambulance, a voluntary UK organisation that does loads of good work, a bridge too far?

Essentially it tells the story of a cancer survivor (good) who chokes in the pub because nobody knows the first aid that might have saved him.

And then says that as many people in the UK (140,000) die in such circumstances as die from cancer.

Yes, but two stats don’t make a right in this context. Why build the guy up to knock him down again?

Surely people want to dig into their pockets because the charity in question creates a better future for people? The double whammy faced by this protagonist hardly makes for a positive message.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.