NHS Charities Together: For the people who helped most

NHSAnd so to the NHS for our final Creative Review of 2020 before next week’s Annual Review. And what a year it has been for the health service, without doubt the most challenging since it was launched in 1948 out of the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth.

But while the Government has ploughed in money in response to the pandemic, health service staff, volunteers, and patients still need plenty of support. Enter NHS Charities Together, a federation of over 250 charitable organisations, which has launched a Covid-19 Appeal to help the public give something back.

While Captain Sir Tom Moore won the nation’s hearts by raising over £30m for the charity by walking laps of his garden, and even releasing a single with Michael Ball, NHS Charities Together’s first ever Christmas campaign, ‘The Gift’, aims to further boost donations.

Created by Iris, with Havas handling media, the activity is led by a 90” film that opens with an elderly man being rushed into hospital. We then witness his journey back to health, as he experiences and observes the care of the NHS staff, in particular one nurse who is there with him every step of the way.

The man makes a full recovery and is let home just in time for Christmas. When the big day arrives, the nurse receives a present from “Santa Claus” and at that point it dawns on her who her patient really was – yep, you guessed it, the man himself…

NHS professionals were invited to star in the film, as well as advise on aspects of the script. The timeframe from conception to final production was just four weeks, with the film shot via remote Zoom. British singer songwriter Birdy recorded an exclusive version of her 2011 track People Help the People especially for the campaign during lockdown.

The wider campaign, which includes social media, digital out of home and retail activity, urges the public to buy gifts that give back to those who have given everything, in recognition of the commitment of NHS staff during the Covid crisis.

Brand partners Starbucks, Marmite, Co-op, Swarovski, and Kindred are selling limited edition products for the campaign, and every product sold will trigger a donation to the appeal.

The money raised by the campaign will be distributed to NHS charities across the UK, which will use it to provide whatever support will make the biggest difference. That could include providing hot meals and a place to rest for staff working long hours and specialised psychological support for those struggling with stress, trauma, and separation from their loved ones.

The funds will also go to helping vital partnerships outside hospitals, such as hospices, community healthcare and social care, so they can provide care to patients, volunteers, and staff outside of hospital.

Local NHS charities are providing additional support, with a focus on help for people who are disproportionately affected by the Covid crisis, such as patients and staff from BAME communities and high-risk groups like those living with disabilities.

In the longer term, the money raised will also fund programmes to help staff and families recover fully once the crisis has abated, reducing the long-term impact on them and the people they care about.

NHS Charities Together chief executive Ellie Orton commented: “I’m in awe of what the team behind the ad have managed to do in such a short space of time. It’s been a huge effort and I think the end result is a wonderful tribute to the NHS staff and volunteers who have been there for us in such a difficult year.”

Iris global executive creative director Grant Hunter added: “2020 has been a testing year for all of us and the brilliant NHS front line staff have been selfless in the way they have given their all. This film is a big thank you to them and one we hope connects with people across the UK. This Christmas Give a Gift That Gives Back.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, setting aside the issue of why, as one of the world’s richest nations, we have to have charities to support NHS staff, volunteers, and patients in the first place, this is a truly worthy cause.

And, admittedly, the film is not exactly based on an original idea, but it is Christmas, so we will let them have it this time. NHS staff and volunteers have been heroes for years; in this, their toughest year, can we really afford not to help the people who helped the people?

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “show the love” 10 out of 10

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