Salford born actor Christopher Eccleston has teamed up with the animation company behind Shaun the Sheep and Walkace and Gromit to produce a film for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The actor, whose father died following a 14 year battle with vascular dementia, gives an emotional plea during the piece which was conceived and directed by creative agency ais London, with animation by Aardman.
The 90” live action spot challenges the general misconceptions around dementia through the peeling and dissecting of an orange – a metaphor for how the physical damage caused by diseases like Alzheimer’s (the leading cause of dementia) means the brain can weigh around 140g less than a healthy brain. The same weight as an orange.
Alzheimer’s Research UK and ais London hope that by urging the public to share the film and raise awareness across Facebook and other social channels, it will encourage open discussion and educate people to the reality that dementia is not just a by-product of age and is caused by physical diseases.
In the same way the public has vehemently rallied behind AIDS and Cancer charities in recent years, it is felt that better understanding of dementia will lead to increased conversation, awareness and action; ultimately encouraging the public to donate and help researchers find a cure quicker.
The digital campaign will run alongside a two week national ATL campaign that begins tonight during ITV’s Coronation Street at 7.30pm. The TV advert is a continuation of last year’s hit campaign featuring powerful speeches by famous faces such as Sir Terry Pratchett, Katie Derham, Arlene Phillips and Seth Rogen.
Christopher Eccleston says: “We have to think differently about dementia. We have to stop believing dementia is an inevitability; something that simply happens to us all as we grow older. If we don’t, we’re never going to truly fight it.
“Dementia is caused by diseases and diseases can be beaten. We’ve tamed diseases like cancer and heart disease and a diagnosis of either is no longer a certain death sentence. People with dementia deserve this same hope. This film aims to show that dementia is caused by physical processes that scientists can put a stop to.
“While scientists fight dementia in the lab, by sharing the film anyone can fight the misunderstanding and fatalism that surrounds dementia in our society.”
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “At the heart of the #sharetheorange campaign is a challenge for the public to share this thought-provoking video to address misunderstanding around dementia. Major breakthroughs have been made in the battle against AIDS and cancer, and research will bring these same life-changing advancements in the field of dementia. To get there, we must stop fearing dementia as something that just happens as we age, and focus on fighting the diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s, that are the root cause of it.
“There are still no treatments that can slow or stop the disease processes in the brain, but with the support of a nation, Alzheimer’s Research UK will win the fight against dementia.”