St John Ambulance ad escapes ban

A controversial St John Ambulance television advertisement showing a man choking to death has avoided censure despite attracting almost 150 complaints that it is “offensive and distressing”.

The spot, which launched in September, encourages people to learn first aid. It claims as any people die in situations where first aid could have helped saved their lives as die from cancer each year in a bid to

The two-minute spot, created by BBH, shows the story of a man that survives cancer following treatment but then dies from choking at a family party because no one knows first aid.

A total of 144 people complained the ad was distressing and offensive to people with cancer.

The Advertising Standards Authority, however, has decided not to launch a formal investigation. The post 9pm scheduling coupled with the need to use hard-hitting images to communicate the ad’s serious message meant the shock tactics were justified, according to an ASA spokesman.

Emma Sheppard, head of PR at St John Ambulance, says: “We created this campaign to get people talking about first aid but we wanted to do this in a responsible way, for instance, working with Cancer Research on the cancer journey and airing the ad after 9pm, so we’re pleased the ASA agrees.”



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