Unconscious Santa in oxygen mask battling Covid-19 in charity ad sparks backlash, fears it will upset children

Titled 'The Gift,' the advertisement shows an old bearded man lying in a hospital bed as medics wearing full PPE try to revive him. The man is later revealed to be Santa, who was nursed back to health


                            Unconscious Santa in oxygen mask battling Covid-19 in charity ad sparks backlash, fears it will upset children
(Getty Images)

An NHS charity Christmas ad has sparked major outrage across social media for reportedly upsetting children by showing Santa Claus unconscious with COVID-19.

Titled 'The Gift,' the advertisement shows an old bearded man lying in a hospital bed wearing an oxygen mask as medics wearing full PPE try to revive him. The man is later revealed to be Father Christmas, who was nursed back to health by NHS workers. Viewers, however, found the depiction of Santa covered in tubes and suffering from coronavirus rather upsetting for children, The Sun reported.

The ad was blasted by several concerned parents as "insensitive" as they feared young viewers would be traumatized by the depiction of Santa. Some have now urged the charity to let children enjoy the holidays "without giving them adult problems to deal with."

Nurses at Aintree University Hospital embrace as they and colleagues applaud the NHS on April 16, 2020, in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Getty Images)

The old man in the advert is seen waking up with oxygen tubes to his face before a mask-wearing nurse asks how he's doing. The man is then seen using a wheelchair and slowly recuperating back to full health. During his recovery, he also receives a get well soon card from his chief reindeer "Rudy." Later in the ad, the man is seen reading letters addressed to "Santa" -- thereby revealing he is Father Christmas. As Santa leaves the hospital, he turns to wave to the medics who saved him. One of them receives a gift with a note reading, "Thank you for everything you've done for all of us," signed "Santa".

While the advertisement was originally intended to celebrate and pay tribute to the NHS staff and volunteers who put their lives on the line during the pandemic, viewers weren't too pleased and took to social media to voice their concerns.

"The NHS have now hijacked Santa and given him Covid to raise money for their charity," one Twitter user wrote. "Someone thought this was a good idea. Guaranteed to scare the hell out of little ones if they watch it. Disgusting idea that targets the fears of the very young. Massive own goal."

"Are you so deluded on your own hype you can't see how disgusting this is NHS? Advert should be removed immediately," another added. "This is disgusting. Don't children have enough to worry about at the moment? What a dreadful, insensitive miscalculation on behalf of the NHS charity organizers. How many children are going to be brought to tears thinking Santa is going to die?" a third chimed in.



 



 



 

"We're delighted to share our Christmas campaign and video, which has been made possible thanks to generous brand partners. We adore the ad and dedicate it to all NHS workers who've given everything to care and keep us safe," the charity wrote on Twitter. However, the post has since been removed and the ad taken down from all social platforms.

Meanwhile, CEO of NHS Charities Together, Ellie Norton, said: "Hundreds of thousands of NHS staff will be working over Christmas and New Year. The public has responded magnificently so far to our appeal, helping us raise over £150million. But with the ongoing impact of Covid, the need is still there."

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