An advertising campaign for first aid charity St John Ambulance has escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority which received complaints that the campaign was misleading in its claims over first aid.
A complaint was received from Full Fact very the claim made in two adverts, one for TV and another online video, created by Bartle Bogel Hegarty, that claimed "First aid could help prevent up to 140,000 deaths every year. The same number of people that die from cancer".
The charity claimed that it had obtained information from Cancer Research UK from its website highlighting thousands of cancer related deaths across the UK, while data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also presented a case for how first aid treatment affected a person's survival possibilities, aiding early recognition and teaching direct intervention. The charity also examined data from 2008 before making the claim, it has added.
Clearcast also endorsed the response from St John's Ambulance, having cleared the pre-production script that it asked to be substantiated.
The ASA ruled against the complaint and stated "We considered that viewers would interpret that to mean 140,000 deaths per year resulted from conditions for which first aid may have improved a person's chance of survival and potentially prevented their death, not that the figure was indicative of the total number of deaths that would be prevented every year if first aid skills were universal in society."