NHS targets millennials with Dom Joly #NotAnEmergency prank

'Trigger Happy TV' star Dom Joly is to return to TV this Christmas in a new candid spot for the NHS which aims to highlight when the public should use its free 24-hour helpline in place of 999.

'Not Quite An Emergency' sees the actor pranking unsuspecting members of the public – swapping his infamous "I'm on the phone" catchphrase for "call 111".

Shot on location in Brighton the video shows a heavily disguised Joly approach members of the public with various minor ailments – from toothache to a blister, to ask them which number he should call to treat his "emergency".

Most of the unsuspecting strangers advise him to all 999, before hidden cameras capture paramedics arriving on the scene as NHS staff dressed as giant blue 1s appear in the background.

The initiative is aimed at under-35s and was created by London-based media agency Spirit. It follows research carried out by the NHS which indicated that just 12 per cent of adults knew of the helpline with particularly low levels of awareness among under millennials.

Matt Campion, creative director at Spirit, said: “We know that the millennial generation love comedy and that pranking is one of the most watched forms of content online.

"So we had to create something that people would talk about and share organically, which is why we teamed up with the UK’s number one prankster Dom Joly, to hit the streets of Sussex and cause some mischief.”

Joly, said he was "delighted" to be part of the drive, and added: "While it was obvious the people I spoke to didn’t think my plight was a 999 emergency, hardly anyone suggested calling 111 instead.

"One guy even suggested calling 999 to find out the right number to call – he knew a non-emergency NHS number existed but couldn’t remember what it was.”

The spot launches in time for the run up to Christmas, one of the busiest times for the nation’s A&E departments and will air until March 2016, supported by paid, owned and earned activity.

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