alzheimer's society long goodbye ad by nca still 3

Creative Salon Loves

Alzheimer’s Society film perfectly captures the heartbreaking reality of dementia

The ‘Long Goodbye’ campaign from NCA unrelentingly highlights the brutal impact of the disease - making it highly effective in raising awareness

By conor nichols

My dad has worked in and around care homes for most of his life and his experience has been filled with many joyous stories involving the residents. Nearly all of these positive moments are a result of the tirelessly hard work that goes into creating a comfortable, fun and caring environment for people - no matter the reason they require assisted care. However, himself, the carers, nurses and other staff members have witnessed first-hand the devastation that dementia can cause to people and their loved ones.

He has described the decision to take a person from their home and place them into an institution as “always a last resort”. “Families almost seem to start the bereavement process at the point of admission and this is often displayed to care staff in forms of extreme sadness, frustration and anger.”

When my dad saw the Alzheimer’s Society ‘Long Goodbye’ spot he was moved to tell me that the film really does capture the torment, distress and sense of anticipatory grief that families experience when their loved ones are admitted to and cared for in care homes. Myself, and I’m sure many other people, whole-heartedly agree with this.

The campaign, created by New Commercial Arts, embodies the devastation surrounding dementia so accurately, hitting home on the brutal reality that people living with the condition, and the people around them, experience multiple losses over the course of the disease. Though some may find the idea behind the campaign to be upsetting at first glance, it is the slightly shocking nature of the film that will ultimately drive vital awareness around the topic.

You really can feel the real emotions and true stories that exist within the campaign when you watch the ad. Not only was the spot co-produced with people directly affected by dementia, but the powerful and meaningful script was also written by New Commercial Arts creative Jules Middleton, alongside Peigh Asante, who drew on her own experience, having lost her dad to the disease two years ago.

“Watching my Dad die of dementia was one of the hardest experiences of my life,” Middleton wrote on LinkedIn. “So to be able to use my families’ experience to help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Society and the work they do, through creating our film The Long Goodbye, is the silver lining to a rather stormy black cloud.”

The film was also directed by the super-talented breakthrough director Charlotte Regan, with the beautifully crafted flashback scenes serving as real insights into the life-long stories of people living with the condition. While the casting from Anna MacAuley was also spot on, the acting, particularly from Neil Leiper who plays the son, was something to behold as it tapped into the heart of everyone that is somewhat familiar with the heartbreaking consequences of the disease. The portrayal of the line “she died again when she asked me, her son, what my name was” choked me and my dad up. 

There are currently 900,000 people living with dementia, making it the UK’s biggest killer, according to Alzheimer’s Society. The public also is not aware of the scale of the problem, with nearly 80 per cent of people unaware that one in three people born in the UK today will get dementia. “It is the biggest health and social care crisis we face in the UK.”

But most importantly there is hope. Alzheimer’s Society believes that through emotive storytelling “grounded in real-life experiences” the public can understand the fact that dementia, and the devastation it causes, is everywhere. The institution continues to be there for people ‘again, and again and again’ and supports people at every step of their journey through its vital services. 

When I asked my dad about how he works with Alzheimer’s Society he told me that volunteers often come in to work with staff and families in an attempt to understand the disease by way of practical sessions. The ‘Dementia friends' initiative aims to create a climate of kindness and understanding, so that everyone affected by dementia feels “part of, not apart from", society. 

As well as the tangible impact Alzheimer’s Society clearly has, the charity wishes to make dementia a priority, to fund research, diagnosis and treatment - the ‘Long Goodbye’ campaign will undoubtedly help in fulfilling this further.


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