At a time when media attention is focused on the blockbuster seasonal ad campaigns a new promotional film called ‘The Wait’ for NHS Blood & Transplant has been released. To mark the launch a free public screening was hosted at Vue Cinema on Regent Street with an added twist: it didn’t matter what time in the day you turn up because the film is 14 hours long.
The Wait is longer than any promotional film ever screened (the previous being a 13 hour ad for an American restaurant chain) but is not an advertisement. It’s an ambitious PR response to an unseen problem: the true scale of the donor organ shortage in the UK.
Almost 49,000 people in the UK have endured the wait for an organ transplant in the last 10 years and over 6,000, including 270 children, have died before receiving the transplant they desperately needed, new statistics from NHS Blood & Transplant reveal.
For the first time people can experience a typical day and the mundane reality of someone on the organ list waiting to know if they will live and die. A story that can’t told in a 30 second clip or soundbite, the film gives a voice to a family to talk candidly about how it feels to be on borrowed time.
Turned around in less than four weeks the film was shot continually in one November day in the home of the Howell family. Simon Howell, 41, has been waiting for a new kidney for almost six years and was formerly a doctor until his illness made him practically housebound. Yet despite this, family life continues to function as normal in many ways in a daily routine not short of love, hope and humour.
The full length version will be able to view in full on the www.organdonation.nhs.uk/timetosign until January 2016. The digital version comes with an interactive twist for viewers who click when they have ‘Had enough?’ and acts as a reminder that while we can turn-off or jump ahead in the day that is not an option for Simon.
It is hoped that if not already on the register viewers will be moved enough to sign and help to potentially save the lives of up to nine other people by becoming an organ donor as part of the #TimetoSign call to action.
At launch ITN featured The Wait cinema launch, an interview with Simon and the new NHSBT statistics as the third item on the national lunchtime and evening news. The story was covered by almost every national news source including features in the Daily Mirror, Metro, Mail Online and a lengthy interview with Simon on Radio 4’s You and Yours.
The ’longest ad’ idea was a triumph of collaboration: created and activated by MHP, crafted by sister agency WCRS and produced by Sassy Films who overcame lots of technical and creative ‘What ifs?’ in order to deliver the longest ad in the shortest time.