Cannes Contenders: Showpony Advertising

How will Australia perform at Cannes this year? In the lead up to the Festival, Campaign Brief will be showcasing the work we hope will impress the judges...

Waiting is not an emergency.jpgSA Health: Waiting is not an emergency
Showpony Advertising
Our brief was to combat a 31% rise in violence and verbal abuse towards staff in South Australian emergency departments by:

1.     Targeting the perpetrators.
2.     Promoting an understanding ED's function.
3.     Building community support for ED staff.

A frequent trigger for aggression in Emergency Departments was 'low priority patients' 'losing it' over waiting times and a belief that other patients were 'queue jumping'. But what they couldn't see from the ED waiting room was all the 'high priority' emergencies that ED staff were responding to.
With a limited budget and a target audience that was effectively SA's entire Adult population (1.1 million people), we needed the advocacy of social media to make it a community issue. To kick start a dialogue we created an online film, using a split screen CCTV format to expose this dangerous, self centered behavior.

Captured entirely in a working ED, using real staff, and real world scenarios, we delivered a truly unique perspective, deliberately blurring the lines between reality and advertising. The juxtaposition of a low level injury patient's aggression, set against genuine life or death situations provided the perspective needed to make it clear that 'waiting is not an emergency'.

In its first two months the post has been viewed 11 million times and continues to grow each day, fuelled by 100,000 shares. The reach of more than 20 million people is eighteen times our target audience - the adult population of Adelaide. Clearly our message has resonated with a worldwide audience.

But it is the 50,000 comments and 500k reactions that most clearly demonstrate the importance of using social media to create advocacy with this campaign. At a time when "join in the conversation" has become a cliché, this campaign has created a platform for genuine comment, complaint, explanation and debate. The general public have been forthcoming in their criticism of waiting times and a lack of government funding for hospitals while clinical staff from around the world have countered with first hand experiences of how challenging and frightening working in an ED can be. While the web-film may be a dramatised account of aggressive behaviour, their stories are not.

The overriding outcome of this exchange is frank and illuminating account, direct from the clinician's mouth, on why EDs are sometimes slow to help low priority patients. And they make no apology.

Why should they? They're busy saving lives.

To quote a comment from David Rawnsley, "Be thankful if you have to wait, it means you're not about to die."

Leave a comment