Saatchi & Saatchi and The British Heart Foundation Capture the True Spirit of Christmas with ‘The Gift that Keeps on Living’

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has launched its Christmas campaign, ‘The gift that keeps on living’. Doing away with the usual trappings of the holidays, the creative by Saatchi & Saatchi UK instead centres around a typical Christmas Day at home, and uses the story of a relationship to show the true value of a donation to the BHF.

Drawing on the real experiences of people living with heart conditions and their loved ones, the festive creative moves away from the spectacular to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas: the joy of the little things, when you’re around to share them. At a time so deeply associated with giving, a donation to the BHF is more than just a good deed – rather, it is funding critical medical research which in turn helps grant more ‘typical’ Christmases, for both the people that BHF-funded research helps and their loved ones. 

To ensure the creative spoke to real experiences, Saatchi & Saatchi worked with the BHF’s Patient and Public Panel to speak to a number of people living with heart conditions and their loved ones. Across a series of interviews conducted during pre-production, anecdotes and insights were gathered and used to shape the script, storyline and direction of the finished film.

Directed by Molly Burdett — appointed after her work featured in Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Creators’ Showcase 2022 screened at Cannes and Margate this year — the campaign will run across TV, VOD, digital, social and radio. The film sets up as if it is going to tell the story of a typical Christmas day for a young couple. Full of all the usual tiffs that make this time of year what it is, a voiceover dialogue lists all of the things that each of them “weren’t supposed to” do – from burning potatoes to buying unexpected gifts that certainly weren’t on the list.

The previously light-hearted and playful creative then changes in tempo by cutting to a chest scar, revealing that none of what we’ve seen was ‘supposed’ to happen – because if it wasn’t for lifesaving research, he wouldn’t have been here at all this Christmas.

Drawing on real life insights and by telling the story from the perspective of the survivor’s partner, the creative shows the impact that living with heart conditions can have on our loved ones too, and ultimately the hope and life that a donation to the BHF can bring. 

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “This festive season we’re asking people to give a gift that keeps on living by funding groundbreaking heart research.

“Our Christmas advert perfectly captures the impact a heart condition can have on people and their loved ones – and brings home the power of lifesaving research.

“It is only thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we can give hope to millions by funding vital research to drive progress and give people the gift of more time with the people they love.”

Saatchi & Saatchi CCO, Franki Goodwin says, “We wanted the film to reflect on the human value of the scientific research that the BHF does as we ask for donations at a difficult financial time for everyone. For a story this simple we knew we needed to work with a director who could tell it quietly, in order to bring to life the emotional weight behind it. Molly’s work – which we saw at our New Creators’ Showcase earlier this year – immediately came to mind, and we’re so pleased she was up for the challenge.”

Director Molly Burdett adds, “Having being selected for the New Creators’ Showcase in the summer, I was very excited to work with Saatchi & Saatchi on a commercial project with such a strong message. It was really important to us to weave real stories into the film by speaking to people who have been directly affected by heart conditions. I loved working with the actors to bring out these intimate, authentic moments inspired by real stories and their experiences. We hope this film helps build awareness for the life-changing work that BHF does.”

Anabel Cooper

Anabel is a graduate of King’s College London and upon graduating, she set out on a journey to inspire and empower women through her words. Besides working as a digital marketing expert, Anabel is a freelance copywriter.