If it wasn’t for a television commercial Evan Wallis suspects he wouldn’t be around to see Father’s Day. Luckily his son happened to see a stroke awareness commercial on TV and knew his dad was in trouble.
TVNZ reports Desmond Wallis was visiting his dad back in June when he recognised symptoms of a stroke from the FAST commercial – a TVC made for the New Zealand Stroke Foundation by Wellington-based Ramp – designed to do just that.
An ambulance was called, surgery followed and Evan is now fully recovered from what could have been a life threatening stroke.
Evan told TVNZ if his son wasn’t there (and he hadn’t seen the FAST commercial) things could have been a lot worse.
Stephen Reid is founder of Ramp (an independent brand communications agency). He said they “worked with the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) to roll out a national campaign to highlight the signs of stroke and what you need to do if you see any of them, based on a hugely successful pilot campaign that we had recently developed with the Stroke Foundation for the Waikato Region.”
The campaign is based on the internationally recognised mnemonic: F.A.S.T – F = Face Drooping, A = Arm Weakness, S = Speech Difficulty, T = Time to call 111.
And Evan isn’t the only person thankful to the commercial. TVNZ reported in July that supermarket staff in New Plymouth recognised the signs of a stroke with an elderly customer at the check-out after seeing the commercial on TV. They called 111 and the woman’s now fully recovered.
“We initially developed the pilot campaign with the Stroke Foundation on a shoe-string budget and had great success on all campaign measures,” said Reid.
“It’s not often you get to revisit work that’s working well and have the opportunity to make it even better. After the success of the pilot, HPA (also an existing of ours) asked us to work with them to evolve the campaign and roll out on a national scale.
“From a creative perspective, we wanted to develop a strong, communication-focused visual property for the campaign that could be used across all channels, providing consistency and easy recognition of the key message. The FAST graphic is used across all channels, in a variety of ways from static to animated.
“The narrative for the messaging is brought to life in visually-driven media through illustration and animation style that we developed with the team at Flux Animation. Given our diverse target audience we needed to create a visual approach that allowed us to show people in a relatively neutral way. The moving line of the drawn animation style reflects the idea of the effects of stroke moving through the body.
“The pared-back illustration style of simple line, using colour to emphasis the movement of the effects of stroke also helps to create a clean back drop for the visual nature of our core message.
“While the TVC covered all aspects of the FAST mnemonic, other channels, including digital and radio highlighted single signs, to help reinforce the message that you need to call 111 immediately if you saw ANY of the signs.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the results we’ve been seeing – that people are remembering the campaign to the extent that it is helping them to save other peoples’ lives is the greatest recognition we could ever hope for with our work. Some people spend their entire working life wondering why they do what they do, and why they get out of bed in the morning to do it.
“For me personally, and I’m sure for many in our team, seeing the people who have been saved from the devastating effects of stroke, with their loved ones and those who have saved them, gives you a stronger sense of purpose than any other recognition of your work ever has. It’s also really humbling to have the reality check about what’s really important with the work we can do,” said Reid.
Clients: Health Promotion Agency, The Stroke Foundation
Strategy and creative: Stephen Reid, Melanie Federico
Production studios: Flux Animation (TVC), Eighty One (Digital animation)
Media: FCB Media
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