Ad of the Day: Charity Airs Shock Ad With Real Footage of a Woman Giving Birth

Called a first for British TV

Headshot of Tim Nudd

In what's being called a first for British television, charity organization Save the Children will air a PSA beginning Tuesday night that includes actual footage of a woman giving birth—and it opens with a stark advisory about the shocking content.

You can see the ad, titled "First Day" and created by London agency adam&eveDDB, below.

It begins with on-screen text: "The following advertisement features a real birth scene which viewers might find distressing." It then cuts to footage, filmed last year (not specifically for an ad), of a young woman giving birth in Liberia—and having the baby cared for by a midwife—at a facility supported by Save the Children.

"For a million newborns every year, their first day is also their last," says on-screen copy. "Basic training for midwives can help end first-day deaths." Viewers are then asked to "Text BORN to 70008 to give £5."

The spot will air after 10 p.m. through Sunday.

Agency and client are unapologetic about the provocative creative. "This is a shocking piece of communication, and it is deliberately designed to make an impact," said Mat Goff, managing director at adam&eveDDB. "One million children dying every year on their first day on Earth is a shocking statistic. So many lives like that of Melvin can be saved simply by having a trained midwife present at the birth. Hopefully it will have the impact that children like Melvin and mothers like T-Girl need."

Added Sue Allchurch, director of marketing and communications for Save the Children: "The 'First Day' creative is a step away from our usual brand advertising, but we felt that a shocking and impactful creative was needed to raise awareness of the scale of the issue and to give the bigger picture of the changes that Save the Children wants to make in the world—stopping children dying for good and helping them fulfill their potential."


Client: Save the Children

Creative Agency: adam&eveDDB

Executive Creative Directors: Ben Priest, Emer Stamp, Ben Tollett

Copywriter, Art Director: Ben Tollett

Planner: Sarah Carter

Media Agency: JAA

Media Planner: Nick Smith

Production Company: The Source

Director: Jonathan Hyams (Save the Children)

Editor: James Sheehy

Postproduction: Finish

Audio Postproduction: 750 MPH

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.