St John Ambulance's hard-hitting TV advert aims to show how many deaths could be prevented if people learn basic first aid skills. From the creatives at BBH and director Benito Montorio through Blink, “Helpless” is an emotional and thought-provoking two minute film.
Video: St John Ambulance "Helpless" by BBH, London.
BBH, London’s two-minute film, “Helpless”, appears at first to be about a man’s battle with cancer – beginning with his diagnosis and continuing to his recovery.
It draws a startling comparison between the number of people who lose their lives each year due to cancer, and those who die in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live. A lesson the viewer learns the hard way as they go on the journey with the protagonist.
Approximately 140,000 people every year die in situations where their lives could have been saved if somebody had known first aid – as many deaths as there are from cancer, according to a campaign.
The PSA is shot by director Benito Montorio, who also did last 2011’s KFC backyard-picnic spot, likewise through BBH. The captivating music is a spare piano-and-vocals version of Australian artist Sia's 2010 track “I'm in Here”.
“The results of the campaign are very encouraging and show that our message is being taken seriously, says Sue Killen, St Johns Ambulance Chief Executive.
The Moving Picture Company, London applied post-production effects to the film. MPC’s visual effects supervisor Kamen Markov completed the 2D VFX work for spot, with director of colour grading, Jean-Clement Soret, adding the grade.
“The great passion and fantastic talent of Benito was contagious,” said Kamen. “Irresistibly emotional, the film itself demanded the best effort and at the end we all felt very proud of being part of this campaign.”
“We approached the grade for this film, in the same way that we would grade a movie - focusing on building the story and giving a natural feel within the sophisticated images,” added Jean-Clement. “Working alongside both director of photography, Federico Alfonzo, and director Benito Montorio during this creative process was a great privilege.”
This is not the first time BBH and St John’s Ambulance have used the shock factor. This “Popcorn” stunt was shown to cinema goers in 2010 (shown in Lürzer’s Archive Vol. 2/2011).