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NHS Christmas Ad Showing Santa Sick With Covid-19 Slammed For 'Terrifying' Kids

NHS Christmas Ad Showing Santa Sick With Covid-19 Slammed For 'Terrifying' Kids

NHS Charities Together has defended the ad, saying it isn't aimed at children

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman

An NHS Charities Together Christmas ad showing Father Christmas ill with coronavirus has proven divisive with viewers, with some arguing it is 'terrifying' and 'traumatising'.

In the advert, Father Christmas is in a bit of a bad way, having contracted the deadly disease.

After being rushed to hospital by paramedics, he wakes up in hospital with an oxygen mask over his face and an IV needle in his arm - a card on the windowsill signed from one of his reindeer, Rudy.

Thankfully, he' eventually recovers and is discharged, his true identity confirmed when he later leaves a gift under the tree for one of the nurses who treated him.

Titled 'The Gift', the short video is NHS Charities Together's first-ever Christmas campaign, designed to highlight the amazing work of NHS staff battling coronavirus this year.

NHS Charities Together

However, it's not gone down too well with everyone, with some people taking to Twitter to argue it's a little on the scary side.

One person commented: "Not happy terrifying adults they now want to traumatise young children with this sick scaremongering."

Tagging the Advertising Standards Agency, another said: "I think @ASA_UK need to investigate that awful NHS advert where Santa has Covid."

In a statement, NHS Charities Together has defended the ad, saying it has had an 'overwhelmingly positive' response since being released earlier this week.

It said: "We created our Christmas campaign to highlight the ongoing commitment and hard work of NHS staff and volunteers to keep us safe and well in what has been and continues to be a really challenging time for the NHS.

"We are really grateful that through the support of our partners we were able to create a film to get that point across, and to encourage people to keep supporting NHS staff, patients and volunteers by generating donations to our appeal.

NHS Charities Together

"When we launched the ad earlier in the week, we had an overwhelmingly positive response to it."

In response to those who said it was upsetting for youngsters, the organisation also said the film wasn't aimed at children.

The statement continued: "Some subsequent media coverage of it has generated criticism of the ad on social media and some people have expressed their concern about it upsetting children. The ad has been made to engage charity supporters and those who may want to buy products that generate donations to the appeal. It isn't aimed at children and hasn't been shown on TV. The charity did not put any funds into the production of the ad.

"We worked closely with the team behind the ad to make sure it was produced responsibly and it was cleared for use by the relevant regulatory authority. However, we are sorry to the parents of any young children who have been upset by watching the ad and to the young children themselves, they were not the intended audience for it."

Featured Image Credit: NHS Charities Together

Topics: UK News, News