Digital Campaign of the Week: St John Ambulance video 'has saved seven lives since launch'

The first-aid charity's video teaches people how to administer first aid when a baby is choking and features the voices of David Walliams, David Mitchell and Johnny Vegas

A still from The Chokeables
A still from The Chokeables

What is it?

The Chokeables is a new video that has been launched by St John Ambulance to raise awareness about what to do if a baby is choking.

In the film, celebrities take on the characters of animated objects that could choke babies – a plastic princess toy, a chewed-up pen lid and a jelly baby are voiced by David Walliams, David Mitchell and Johnny Vegas respectively. They explain that they are fed up of babies choking on innocent objects like them, and they want to show people how easy it is to save a choking baby’s life. The jelly baby then starts struggling for breath and turns blue.

Walliams’s princess character demonstrates the correct technique with which to save a choking baby – up to five back blows, followed by up to five chest thrusts – and the jelly baby coughs out a peanut (voiced by Sir John Hurt) and returns to normal. It ends with a call to action that asks viewers to share the video.

Why now?

Research carried out for the charity showed that almost 80 per cent of parents would not know how to save their baby from choking to death, despite this being a major fear for moer than half of them.

How many people have seen it?

The video has been viewed by more than four million people on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter in the first 10 days; it has been shared 150,000 times on the charity’s Facebook page alone. This will be boosted by a Thunderclap campaign – hundreds of supporters will share the message on social media at the same time on 2 February.

The advert was also shown on television; St John Ambulance estimates that it has been viewed by a further 20 million people.

What has the impact been so far?

The charity said this week that seven members of the public had contacted it to say they had saved a child’s life after learning the technique from The Chokeables.   

Third Sector verdict

The charity has taken a fresh approach with this humorous animated video, which looks very different to many of its more serious past campaigns. It is great to see a charity campaign having a tangible impact in such a short space of time – a fact acknowledged by the charity’s chief executive, Sue Killen, who describes the campaign as "living proof that life-saving first aid can be quick and easy to learn, and once you know what to do, you have the confidence to take action quickly and potentially save a life."

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