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‘Heart-stopping’ Save the boy campaign reaches millions

 Boy on the ground and father

St John Ambulance's Save the boy campaign, launched just over two weeks ago, has reached millions with the message that even basic first aid skills can be the difference between life and death.

The campaign, which featured a powerful film and an interactive first aid tutorial, was launched after our research revealed that half of parents (55%) would lack the skills necessary to save their child in the event of a life-threatening accident. In the advert, a young boy is left unresponsive after falling from a tree, but his father is helpless because he is unequipped with the first aid skills to save him. It makes the point that SJA volunteers can’t be everywhere and more people need to be the difference between life and death.

Save the boy premiered to an audience of nearly eight million people during ITV1’s Doc Martin on 16 September. The ad ran seven more times on ITV1 over the next two weeks, including during the 29 September episode of Downton Abbey, reaching 37 million people in total. A further 130,000 people have already watched the ad online.

See Save the boy for yourself, and take part in the interactive experience, at our dedicated campaign page.

 Save the boy infographic

Teaching life saving skills

Save the boy features an interactive first aid tutorial, which guides people through the simple steps that could save the boy in the advertisement. Our dedicated campaign page, which features the interactive experience, has had over 90,000 hits, meaning even more people have access to potentially life saving first aid skills.

Sue Killen, SJA Chief Executive, said: ‘Over half of parents told us they wouldn’t have the first aid confidence to save their own child’s life. We had to take action which is why we developed the campaign.

‘We know some people were a little shocked by the advert but like one Twitter user said, ‘I'd rather be scared by an ad than scared I couldn't save someone.’ We’re really pleased with the way people have responded and that tens of thousands more people can be the difference between life and death.’

High profile support

The campaign’s message has been reached millions on social media, and Coronation Street star Samia Ghadie was among those to back Save the boy on Twitter. Samia told her followers she was so moved by the campaign that she immediately signed up for a first aid training course.

The campaign film, was described by MailOnline as ‘heart-stopping’ and has appeared in a number of other media including ITV1’s Daybreak, Sky News, ITV lunchtime news and The Huffington Post, to name a few.

Save the boy is the latest hard-hitting campaign film from St John Ambulance, and follows last year’s Helpless campaign. Further research from St John Ambulance shows:

  • Over two-fifths (41%) of people admit that it would take something as severe as the death of a loved one to make them learn first aid.
  • Despite 65% of parents claiming to know basic first aid, based on the scenario in the advert, over half of those surveyed (57%) said they would leave the boy still until an ambulance arrived – which would not be the correct procedure.
  • More than one in five (21%) parents don’t view knowing first aid as being important.
  • More than one-third (37%) of parents said their child has had an accident that’s needed immediate first aid intervention whilst on holiday – yet, nearly half of those parents did not have the skills to help their child.
  • 62% of parents say knowing first aid skills would make them feel more prepared for parenthood.