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Unison ‘15 Minute Care Makeover’ / Don’t Panic

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What can you achieve in 15 minutes? Could you have a shower, get dressed and create a nutritious breakfast for yourself? If a cup of tea counts as breakfast, maybe. In an age where faster methods of doing just about everything are applauded, a satirical advert by Unison UK berating care visit cutbacks draws a striking contrast.

The two-minute '15 Minute Care Makeover' film by Don’t Panic dramatizes the effect of council cuts on at-home care visits. Claire Sweeney reprises her 60 Minute Makeover presenting role by hosting a TV challenge where a nurse tries in vain to provide quality care. The clock starts when care nurse Nisha enters an elderly man’s home. Upon entering Frank’s bedroom Sweeney tells Nisha off for asking him how he is, quipping that there’s “No time for small talk”. Frank’s shower and vacuuming the house also prove to be too time consuming and are quickly axed from Frank’s daily routine in order to meet the 15 minute deadline. In fact, Nisha finds she can’t do much of anything in the 15 minutes she’s given, with the “after” makeover shots showing Frank looking a bit more dishevelled than before Nisha arrived.


It’s hard to visualise time. One might allocate 20 minutes for the walk to the office every morning, but in reality the trip takes more like half an hour, what with a stop for coffee and slow walkers factored in. On paper, 15 minutes might seem like enough time for a quick check-in to help an elderly person with daily dressing, but as the short film shows, this is not nearly enough time to provide friendly, quality caring. Nisha unabashedly resents Sweeney rushing her along but is powerless to take matters into her own hands, a clear jab at our current socio-political climate where real nurses have no leverage against council cutbacks.

The ad aims to highlight the undignified and unfair level of care such visits afford pensioners. The humorous advert doesn’t tell us what to think in the same way an emotional documentary-style ad would, instead it uses satire to draw viewers in, and gives the audience a visual representation of what can be accomplished in a quarter of an hour. The film achieves its goal by giving us a reason to watch all the way through: viewers will want to see the before and after shots of Frank. It is appealing to those of us who aren’t necessarily social activists and provides a bite-size introduction to a problem that persists in around two-thirds of councils in England and Wales. Even viewers not intimately familiar with the cuts at the local government level will be able to appreciate the widespread problem Frank and Nisha are representative of. The cameo appearance by Claire Sweeney also widens the appeal of the ad and will ensure higher viewing figures which, in turn, will help pressure ministers into action. Unison and Don’t Panic have created an advert with a clever concept which avoids being too trite and embeds the idea that, even in the 21st century, sometimes speed isn’t everything.