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Shocking Save the Children Ad with Live-Birth

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Emotive ad by adam&eveDDB features actual footage of a woman giving birth

Shocking Save the Children Ad with Live-Birth

A first for British TV advertising - Save the Children today unveils its new creative, ‘First Day’ featuring a real-life birth. The highly emotive ad has been designed to engage a new, wider audience with the charity’s work to stop children dying and will be on TV screens from 25th February to 2nd March 2014, with a high-profile launch spot during the ITV news at 10pm.

The ad, created by adam&eveDDB, supports the next phase of the charity’s No Child Born to Die campaign to save 2 million babies’ lives a year and raise awareness of 1 million babies dying on their first day. No child should be born to die on their first – and only – day of life.

Opening with an official advisory ‘The following advertisement features a real birth scene which viewers might find distressing’, the ad cuts to real birth footage not filmed specifically for the advert but shot at the Save the Children supported Maternal Waiting Home at Peters Town Clinic in Liberia in 2013. It features a young woman called T-Girl giving birth to her son Melvin and being cared for by a trained midwife called Watta Borbr.

T-Girl is seen lying on a hospital bed in the last seconds of her labour. Her baby boy Melvin is delivered by midwife Watta Borbr and immediately carried across the room and laid down in a cot. Melvin is blue in colour and not making any sound. Watta cleans and rubs Melvin to try and start him breathing.

The ad then cuts back to T-Girl still lying on the hospital bed with her back to the camera crying and her body shaking. The following words appear on the screen – ‘For a million babies every year, their first day is also their last’.

Watta continues to rub Melvin and finally he cries. Appearing on the screen are the words ‘Basic training for midwives can help end first day deaths. Text BORN to 70008 to give £5’.

Sue Allchurch, Save the Children Director of Marketing and Communications comments: “To achieve our aim of saving children’s lives around the world and helping children fulfil their potential, we wanted to create an authentic and emotional ad to put our work into context. The ‘First Day’ creative is a step away from our usual brand advertising, but we felt that that a shocking and impactful creative was needed to raise awareness of the scale of the issue and to give the bigger picture of the changes that Save the Children wants to make in the world – stopping children dying for good and helping them fulfil their potential.

“We hope that our ad lets people know about the work we do so that they have the opportunity to help us help children either directly by donating or by campaigning for the wider changes that will save many more children’s lives.”

Mat Goff, Managing Director at adam&eveDDB, said:  “This is a shocking piece of communication, and it is deliberately designed to make an impact. One million children dying every year on their first day on earth is a shocking statistic. So many lives like that of Melvin can be saved simply by having a trained midwife present at the birth. Hopefully it will have the impact that children like Melvin and mothers like T-Girl need.”  

Save the Children will air both 60 second and 30 second ads which will sometimes appear with a 10 second “tail”, a mechanism designed to prompt more SMS responses.

The ‘First Day’ TV ad will be supported with online and print ads as well as PR and through social channels.


Creative agency: adam&eveDDB

Executive Creative Directors: Ben Priest, Emer Stamp, Ben Tollett

Copywriter: Ben Tollett

Art director: Ben Tollett

Planner: Sarah Carter

Media agency: JAA

Media planner: Nick Smith

Production company: The Source

Director: Jonathan Hyams (Save the Children)

Editor: James Sheehy

Post-production: Finish (grading)

Audio post-production: 750 MPH

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Genres: People

Categories: Charity, Corporate, Social and PSAs, Tue, 25 Feb 2014 10:00:18 GMT