TV Advert

Anyone watch the TV advert on Channel 4 tonight, watched it on YouTube this morning without sound had better effect. Only one thing why not donate by text a lot easier.

Any thoughts

I found it a bit fast and overwhelming. Checked out with several friends and the feedback was generally negative. I think maybe itā€™s a good rousing start, but needs a slightly gentler follow up with a clear link to giving.

Itā€™s just my personal reaction but I was horrified when I saw the TV advert. To me it feels like scaremongering in order to raise money for research.

The general public are already scared of Parkinsonā€™s Disease - which is part of the reason they do not relate well to those of us living with it - and this is just going to add to their fear. It will not generate the acceptance and understanding of the condition that is so sorely needed.

I want people in my life to understand Parkinsonā€™s and see me in spite of it. I want to be seen as a valid human being regardless of the symptoms that I have and I desperately donā€™t want to be seen as a victim or a creature of pity. This advert isnā€™t going to help me to live with Parkinsonā€™s or be accepted on the terms that I would like to be accepted in any way at all.

When I heard that Parkinsonā€™s UK were planning a TV advert I was hoping for a genuine raising awareness campaign or a campaign to highlight the need for support services for people living with the condition. As Iā€™ve said, it is just my opinion but when I watch the advert that has been released I essentially see an aggressive marketing campaign.

Oh well, at least I wonā€™t have to see anybody that I know who has seen the advert due to lockdown (the first time I have seen any positive regarding my extended period of partial social isolation) and I can only hope that it will be off air by the time we get let out :unamused:.

Iā€™m with you on this @Jackson. I watched the advert via a link in an email from Parkinsons UK and absolutely hated it. No way would I want family or friends to see it as it would just make them totally depressed about what might happen to me.

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Havenā€™t yet seen the controversial advert so canā€™t comment. Interested to find out for myself. Will look to YouTubeā€¦

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Hi @Jackson, @Stoakview and @Singing_Gardener, :wave:

Thank you all for your feedback.

Iā€™m really sorry to hear that you do not like the ā€˜Time for Canā€™ advert which went live yesterday and Iā€™m even sadder to hear that it felt like ā€œscaremongeringā€ to you, Jackson.

Parkinsonā€™s is a complex condition that affects everyone in different ways. It might be that this particular campaign doesnā€™t reflect your personal experience of the condition. However, the film shows real people with Parkinsonā€™s and reflects their experiences and feelings.

The footage in some places is difficult to watch but we purposely wanted to demonstrate how difficult this condition can be for people living with Parkinsonā€™s. Many of the people featured actively encouraged us to use this footage to tell their story and help increase understanding of the raw realities of the condition.

Feeling ashamed may be something that is specifically picked up on. We know from speaking to people in the community that this is something people have experienced and felt, although may not be how everyone does feel.

We also know from our own research and from people with Parkinsonā€™s that the general public do not understand the severity of Parkinsonā€™s and the impact it has on everyday life. To grow a movement that will help find a cure for Parkinsonā€™s, we need to make people care. This means that sometimes we need to speak about Parkinsonā€™s differently, to have impact and make people sit up and take notice.

Again, people with Parkinsonā€™s were consulted during the development of the campaign. And our information and support services are here for everyone affected by Parkinsonā€™s, and weā€™ll continue to highlight them throughout the campaign period so people can easily find any support they need from us.

I hope this addresses the concerns you raised.

Best wishes,

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Hi Reah,
Thank you, as always, for your detailed response to points raised on this thread. Before writing anything else, I have to say that I think you do a fantastic job on this forum and I do find the helpline to be an invaluable resource.

I have watched the advert again (and again) taking into account the considered and thought provoking comments posted on this thread but I still fail to see how it is going to be effective as either a vehicle for raising awareness of life with Parkinsonā€™s Disease or as a means of supporting the development of a more Parkinsonā€™s friendly society.

To me (and this is just a personal opinion) it still seems to converying the following messages:

  1. Parkinsonā€™s is the fastest-growing neurological condition therefore people who do not currently have it will develop it in the future.
  2. This is what it looks like - itā€™s awful.
  3. You might end up like this so donate money now to help find a cure.

While I will readily admit that my knowledge of running a campaign is non-existent, I am pretty sure that adverts are designed to appeal to a target audience and by their very nature, they always have a key aim. The target audience for this advert seems to be the general public and the aim seems to be to shock people into action - primarily donating money towards research. I totally understand that others will feel very differently but in terms of peopleā€™s perceptions of me as somebody living with Parkinsonā€™s Disease, I cannot see how this advert does me any favours.

I know that the second half of the advert focuses on the concept of ā€˜we canā€™ but I remain unsure as to exactly what the ā€˜we canā€™ messaging is and irrespective of this, I feel that it gets lost in between the chaos of the first half and the take-home message at the end: finding a cure is the only possible solution. This seems to be at odds with the key messaging on the website where those of us living with the condition are advised that:

  • we can largely self manage this condition through adopting a healthy lifestyle - exercising regularly and making adjustments to out lives as the condition progresses,
  • Parkinsonā€™s isnā€™t so bad - there are ā€˜lots of thingsā€™ we can do to manage life with Parkinsonā€™s Disease,
    *we can take control of this condition at all stages,
    *we should stay positive regarding life with Parkinsonā€™s and focus on what we can do,
    *we should aim to live in the moment and not worry about the future,
    *we should consider staying in work for as long as we can and continue with all of our regular activities because Parkinsonā€™s is slow to develop and it is a very individual condition.

I suppose that my other problem is that I am living with Parkinsonā€™s today and while I support the focus on finding a cure for those who will develop this condition in the future, it is highly unlikely that there will be any significant developments in treatments in my lifetime and there will definitely not be a cure. I cannot expect that the focus on research will have any significant impact on my life with Parkinsonā€™s and therefore my personal focus has to be on learning to live with this condition as best as I can. A television advert is a huge financial undertaking and Iā€™m really disappointed that the advert that has been produced focuses so heavily on the need to find a cure rather than raising genuine understanding of the condition or highlighting the need for adequate services to support those of us living with Parkinsonā€™s today.

It is telling that nobody that I know has, so far, mentioned to me that they have seen this advert. I am mildly curious as to how many people with Parkinsonā€™s were involved in the process of developing this advert and also how this group were selected. Iā€™m not asking, Iā€™m just musing, but I think that approximately 150,000 people in the UK currently have Parkinsonā€™s Disease; we are all very individual people with differing views and attitudes and therefore a good cross section of us need to be asked for our opinions if the views of people with Parkinsonā€™s are to be truly represented.

It may be that Iā€™m in the minority in terms of my reaction to this advert but I really donā€™t want to see it again - it just leaves me with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

Anyway, in the end it is what it is and I cannot change it so I will stop there.
Thank you again for your response.

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Hiā€¦itā€™s my Husband who has PDā€¦We watched this on You Tube as we had seen it advertised on the forumā€¦
My Husband was mortified by it and could not understand why it had been madeā€¦I understand PD is not a nice thing and people are very ignorant about the whole complex nature of itā€¦but the advert made it seem like everyone would develop ALL of the symptoms very quicklyā€¦We have 3 Sons and 4 Grandchildren and if ( or when) they see the advert I know they will be scared that their Dad/Grandad is going to end up like thisā€¦this is scare mongering at the worse we feelā€¦we live with it on a daily basis so I am sure we have all looked into the future and deep down know whats furture down the line for us ā€¦

But hey! Ho! Thats just our opinion.
ā€¦sorry if it upsets anyone that is not our aim.

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Hi @Babesbrown, :wave:

Thanks for your feedback on the ad and sharing your husbandā€™s thoughts with us.

Our primary objective was to demonstrate the variety and complexity of the condition by showing the broad range of symptoms and stories to help increase understanding of the condition, and show that it is far more than ā€˜just the shakesā€™, by demonstrating some of the harsh realities of the condition.

Furthermore, we also wanted to demonstrate the diversity of people affected by the condition. That you can be any age, gender, ethnicity - Parkinsonā€™s does not discriminate.

Both of these were front of mind when choosing and selecting footage to include. I hope this information gives you some context and addresses your concerns.

Best wishes,

I too was shocked by the advert not because I found it upsetting (which I did) but because I thought we as a society had started to move on from this type of emotional blackmail. Countries of the Global South have for years been subjected to this sort of propaganda were images of starving children have been used robbing these communities of their dignity and making us feel ā€˜sorryā€™ for them instead of feeling the deep injustice they suffer and a desire to see this rectified. This advert in my mind does not create that desire for justice for PD sufferers (a cure) but reduces me to an object of pity.


Michael j fox on Friday, tomorrow morning on This Morning

Apologies this ended up being a bit lengthy! The TV ad has clearly evoked strong feelings. It was flagged up to me that it was going to be aired in the channel 4 news so I made a point of watching. The news break came and this fast and furious thing came on which for a second or two totally confused me before I realised what it was and it just felt loud and fast, felt like it was in two halves bad bits then good but because the bad bits were so shocking they detracted from the good which I hardly noticed. I have since watched it again on you tube and can see it is more balanced than that first showing seemed to me to be. I agree with other comments about not being sure who the target audience was. A friend who saw it said she felt very neutral about it and didnā€™t make her feel sufficiently motivated or moved to donate, and she is the female equivalent of Joe Public if you like. I donā€™t know how you select the people to consult but most people would agree with them I think when you wrote Reah they wanted to show real people and the reality of living with Parkinsonā€™s. The problem here I think is that they are more like snaps with newspaper like dramatic headlines, you donā€™t really see the people or know their stories so I would question how much that increases understanding of Parkinsonā€™s generally. I find myself not really knowing what to think about this ad. There is no doubt that it is powerful. No-one would dispute the need for research nor for better understanding of Parkinsonā€™s and TV is undoubtedly a strong medium to use when even with all of todayā€™s technology the ā€˜box in the cornerā€™ (although increasingly on the wall these days) remains the main source of entertainment and information. It will be interesting to see if this is successful in attracting donations. Equally though it raises questions for me not least who it is actually aimed at and I personally didnā€™t much care for the fast pace and the reducing of a complex condition to a few flashed up words although admittedly very cleverly put together. I do however find myself agreeing with many of the comments made in relation to those of us living with Parkinsonā€™s and am not convinced this will do us any favours. You could argue I am sitting on the fence here and youā€™re probably right but I am genuinely struggling to understand what I think. I understand the need for research. I appreciate the need to attract donations. I donā€™t even have a problem with shock tactics or trying something different. In one of your replies Reah you wrote ā€œā€¦.ā€¦ā€¦To grow a movement that will help find a cure for Parkinsonā€™s, we need to make people care. This means that sometimes we need to speak about Parkinsonā€™s differently, to have impact and make people sit up and take notice.ā€ I donā€™t disagree with this at all but I am not convinced it will make people care nor have better understanding, but then the ad isnā€™t really aimed at me since I am already in that fastest growing neurological group. Maybe that is the real issue with the ad; that we just get on with lives as best we can in a society that is not always understanding and most of us seem to spend a lot of time informally educating folk where shock tactics I would suggest is rarely if ever the tool of choice. I hope in seeking to ā€˜speak about Parkinsonā€™s differently to have impactā€™ the charity continues to be innovative and creative. This ad may not suit us all, we may not all like it and question the thinking behind it, we may think it misses the mark. It may also be seen as a brave attempt to do something different. That is always hard. I guess for those of us living with Parkinsons itā€™s business as usual. Comment as you feel fit then get on with living. Congratulations if you made it to the end!

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Just watched the Parkinsons advert on Youtube,
This is following a question from a friend which was " Are you Contagious?"
After watching the advert I felt like it was as sudden and incomprehensible as a Mugging. The shock tactic left so many unanswered questions like :- ā€œWhat the hell is Parkinsonā€™s?ā€; ā€œHow do people get it?ā€; and ā€œHow can you/people help?ā€ . I dont know if the advert was shortened for youtube but the pace was so quick that I was left wondering what the hell I had just seen. It was like an advert for the latest shock horror / gore movie, all that was missing was the coming to a cinema near you information.
Must say that if this is the best that can be done to raise awareness then it is a poor show.

Following my post after watching the advert on youtube (above), prompted by a question from a friend who had seen the advert, I have watched it again several times to try to see if it had any redeeming features.
I personally have yet to see any.
Living with this disease, which has taken my Job, my income, and several relationships along with much of my capabilityā€™s and feelings of self-worth, it seems that this advert has sufficiently confused one of my oldest and dearest friends enough to raise enough enough FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) in a member of the general ā€œJoeā€ population, who know little about this illness to question if I am a risk to him and his family.
The level of understanding of this illness amongst people who do not suffer from it is amazingly low, and the Blitz approach would seem to have added an additional level of confusion.
The advert would seem to emphasise the effects of the disease in a dramatic way in order to make the general public sit up, and take notice of the debilitating effects of this condition, and is so successful in doing this that the second half ā€œWe Canā€ supposedly positive message is (for me) overidden by the ā€œShock and Aweā€ blitz of the first section.
Like several of the other contributors to this Forum, I also fail to see how this offering ā€œDoes me any Favoursā€.
I appreciate that a television campaign if a substantial undertaking, and would have incurred significant cost, but this campaign has the feel of an undergraduate end of term assignment from the ā€œMeeja Studiesā€ department of the University of Bums on Seats.
The production lacks any context of the risks and probabilities of developing this illness, other than showing the range of extremes of the range of possible outcomes, followed by a ā€œPay Upā€ or this could be you! theme.
I do sincerely hope that the plan is to follow up with a gentler information campaign to improve the general understanding of this condition amongst the population at large, which fosters understanding of what living with the condition entails, along with details of how they could actually help, instead of exploiting the fear and ignorance that currently reigns.
I know that this is difficult to begin to change the direction of public awareness and understanding, but feel that the advert in question fails to do this, in fact it leaves me feeling somehow diminished, in that it makes me feel as though I am being portrayed as some helpless unfortunate victim to be pitied, who has succumbed to some fearful dread disease - like some sort of Dickensian Tiny Tim.
I hope that the forthcoming television appearance of Michael J Fox is a more informative effort in bringing greater awareness to the masses (I hope so) instead of feeding fear and scaring the removed by admin as it could be offensive to other users out of them.
For Me, it is unfortunate that the good that Parkinsonā€™s UK has done, has (In my personal view) been set back by using such shock tactics without a contextual setting in order to play on the ignorance and fears of the population at large in order to raise funds. Facilities such as this very forum have been a lifeline to me and others, and the support of many members (You know who you are!) has been fundamental to my strategy of dealing with the challenges presented as my condition develops (BTW - In Your Face Mr Parky!).
I would like to thank anyone who has made it through my rambling this far, and admire your resilience.


Hi @Jackson, :wave:

Thank you so much for your lovely words and Iā€™m so happy to hear that the helpline has been an invaluable resource to you. :slightly_smiling_face:

We also appreciate your feedback and as youā€™ve raised several points in your comment, Iā€™d like to address them so apologies in advance for my lengthy response.

With regard to people being concerned about how this is going to affect understanding and awareness; as well as testing people with Parkinsonā€™s, we also test with our target audience to ensure the right message is understood. In this case an unaffected audience who know little about the condition. When we tested with them, many people demonstrated increased understanding of the condition. Understanding that Parkinsonā€™s is far more than ā€˜just the shakesā€™ but how it can impact peopleā€™s lives in a variety of ways including walking, talking, movement etc. This is significant development towards our goal as a charity and movement to help society understand more about the condition. And we hope on a large scale, this TV ad will help move wider understanding of the condition.

We know that some of the footage in some place is very hard hitting. But rather than scaremongering we do want people to see the realities that Parkinsonā€™s can look like this. Everyone included in the advert very much wanted us to show what it can really mean to live with Parkinsonā€™s on the day to day. So rather than intending to scare people, it is a true representation of how Parkinsonā€™s can impact peopleā€™s lives. We want people to see it as more than ā€˜just a tremorā€™.

You mentioned your confusion about the campaign message - The sense of ā€˜Canā€™ focuses not only on a cure, but varying things we CAN do, such as uniting together, funding, giving time, giving funds, doing research etc. All of these activities from people with Parkinsonā€™s, loved ones, carers, researchers, supporters are all required for future breakthroughs to happen. As per our strategy, our aim is to deliver one new treatment by 2024 and continue to make further inroads and discoveries towards a cure.

Parkinsonā€™s UK core purpose and ultimate goal is to find a cure for Parkinsonā€™s. This is something we clearly set out in much of our communications, including on our website, as seen here: As our core mission, we felt this should be included within the advert, as something that is our reason for existence as an organisation.

We explicitly set out that actually much of these ā€˜CANsā€™ are not possible without the generosity and support of others to make this possible.

Also, people with Parkinsonā€™s have been involved in the development of the TV advert throughout the process. This contribution is vital to ensure that the condition is accurately represented, and to ensure the community has a voice.

This included people with Parkinsonā€™s providing much of the footage seen in the TV ad. Much of this is user-generated-content (things people have filmed themselves) and shared with us. People have actively encouraged us to use and share it to show the raw realities of the condition.

We also tested the TV ad with a group of people with Parkinsonā€™s - they were a diverse group of people both male and female, ranging in age from mid 40s - mid 70s and people from all four of the nations. They provided feedback on the direction of the overall TV development and script.

Furthermore, weā€™ve been working closely with two people with Parkinsonā€™s who have been asked to challenge us throughout. They have been an extension of our core creative team who have seen the TV ad develop over time and have contributed to the creative discussion throughout.

Again, apologies for this lengthy reply, but I do hope this addresses the points you raised.

Best wishes,

Hi Reah,
Thank you so much for taking the time to provide such a comprehensive reply to my concerns.
I understand that the advertā€™s primary function is to raise funds for research and I genuinely hope that people diagnosed with Parkinsonā€™s in the future benefit from this but I am trying to exist with Parkinsonā€™s today and I continue to very much resent the way that people living with Parkinsonā€™s have been portrayed by this advert. Reading through this thread, I am not the only one who feels this way but I guess others, including the people who were invited to give feedback, have a different opinion - a campaign such as this was always going to divide opinion.

I donā€™t wish to be seen as a victim who should be pitied and I continue to feel that the advert gives no context or explanation whatsoever of the symptoms that it is portraying but maybe it will prove to be a very effective fundraising exercise. The distress and upset that it is causing for those of us living with Parkinsonā€™s who wish we had not been so publicly and brutally exposed in this way may just be an unfortunate consequence of what may end up being considered to be a successful campaign.

I will stop there. It really is just my opinion and my reaction to the advert and I am not going to be able to change anything; you have been kind enough to answer my never-ending questions (twice :woozy_face:) so the best thing that I can do is to avoid the current campaign and hope that nobody I know sees it.
With many thanks,

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Hi @Camargue, :wave:

Thanks for your feedback on the ad.

Iā€™ve mentioned this previously on the thread, however, as youā€™ve mentioned that you felt shocked and upsetting, I just thought Iā€™d reiterate my earlier point.

Iā€™m genuinely sorry that you felt as if the ad was a form of emotional blackmail, this certainly wasnā€™t our intention. We know from our own research and from people with Parkinsonā€™s that the general public do not understand the severity of Parkinsonā€™s and the impact it has on everyday life. To grow a movement that will help find a cure for Parkinsonā€™s, we need to make people care. This means that sometimes we need to speak about Parkinsonā€™s differently, to have impact and make people sit up and take notice.

People with Parkinsonā€™s were consulted during the development of the campaign (see above answer). And our information and support services are here for everyone affected by Parkinsonā€™s, and weā€™ll continue to highlight them throughout the campaign period so people can easily find any support they need from us.

I hope this information has helped to alter your view.

Best wishes,

An interesting and informative response to Jacksonā€™s post. As always Reah you give a considered response. This may be a totally ridiculous and impractical suggestion but I will plough on because you never know. As I was reading your post I found myself wondering if there was a case for a new category on the forum for current or proposed campaigns. There is such a lot of info around things can be easily missed, I for example, only heard about the ad a couple of hours before it aired because a friend happened to call me. It seems to me whenever there is
something like this it is followed by an indignant, angry, call it what you will outcry from members of the forum leading to explanation, justification (again call it what you will) by Reah. If there was a place where we knew what was happening, where questions and concerns could be flagged up before the event it may help prevent all this furore. It would help forum members understand better the purpose and give time to prepare people we know if needs be, it could even possibly as well provide another avenue for feedback. I have no idea of how this may be set up, work or even if itā€™s viable, itā€™s simply an embryonic idea that someone may be able to do something with

Hi @Tot, :wave:

Thanks for your feedback. :slightly_smiling_face:

In response to the reference you made on one of my replies, yes, our intention to make people care and to grab their attention.

As Iā€™ve mentioned previously, we found that people with Parkinsonā€™s feel like their life day-to-day can feel very frantic and overwhelming sometimes, therefore the creative execution allows the audience to feel how people with Parkinsonā€™s may feel. This is another great way to help increase understanding of the condition. We wanted to ensure we delivered an ad that has real impact and stood out among others. During testing with our target audience, all participants considered the advert attention grabbing.

To answer your point about not knowing who the target audience is, I thought Iā€™d provide some clarity on this too. The Time for Can campaign is a charity-wide campaign involving multiple teams. This is aimed at new and existing supporters with the aim of increasing understanding of Parkinsonā€™s and raising Ā£1million for Parkinsonā€™s research.

This campaign is aimed at new and existing supporters of Parkinsonā€™s UK through a variety of activities. Our outreach to our community of supporters and potential donors includes a UK-wide TV advert, postal cash appeal, volunteer engagement, social media activity, email communications and two virtual fundraising events.

Our ambition in delivering our online activity will allow supporters of any geographical location to engage with our work. Through working with our volunteer networks we will be spreading information about our campaign to those in offline communities too. Our TV advert will reach a UK-wide audience to further their understanding of what Parkinsonā€™s is and is targeted at a key unaffected audience who support charities.

We appreciate that everyone will have mixed reviews on this, however, do hope I was able to address the questions in your comment.

Best wishes,

Hi @Vic_tor, :wave:

Thanks for your feedback. :slightly_smiling_face:

Having read both your comments, it is very clear that you are disappointed with the TV ad which is truly unfortunate and Iā€™m sorry to hear that it has led to some confusion for your dear friend. Iā€™ve explained a few times on the thread why we decided to use a fast paced style and why in some places it is quite difficult to watch. To save you from having scroll you can find it here: TV Advert

The video is based on the real experiences of people with Parkinsonā€™s and portrays the impact of the condition alongside their positive attitude. This tested well with people with Parkinsonā€™s and reflects the hope that many people affected by Parkinsonā€™s have. We realise that Parkinsonā€™s affects everyone differently, however this sentiment was truthful for those in the film. We hope you can still support the campaign to help shift public understanding of living with Parkinsonā€™s.

Best wishes,