How Long Could Hold Your Breath in Cold Water? This Unsettling PSA Will Show You

British Charity RNLI's Campaign Is Filmed From a Drowning Person's Perspective

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on Jul 14, 2015

Editor's Pick

British lifeboat charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) shows you what it's like to drown in cold water in a couple of hard-hitting PSAs filmed from the drowning person's point of view.

In the first of two cinematic films by Blink director Tomas Mankovsky and Leo Burnett Change, the voiceover challenges the viewer to hold their breath, then simulates a terrifying drowning. Afterwards, we're told that on land most people could hold their breath long enough to survive this, but in cold water we can barely hold our breath for 10 seconds.

Another equally unsettling film portrays various drowning scenarios, again filmed from the drowning person's perspective, where the shock of cold water or an unexpected wave turns a fun day out into a tragedy. Both ads warn that "British and Irish water are dangerously unpredictable."

The films, the first national drowning prevention PSAs from the charity, are showing in cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland.

Last year French lifejacket brand Guy Cotten ran an interactive ad with a similar vibe, Sortie en Mer, which was filmed from a drowning person's point of view and required the viewer to keep scrolling to stay afloat.

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Jul 14, 2015
Leo Burnett Change
Tomas Mankovsky
Production Company:
Sam Levene
Executive Producer:
James Bland
Director of Photography:
Magnus Jønck
Max Windows
Post Production:
The Electric Collective
Sound Director:
Sam Robson, 750
Agency Producer:
Jennifer Fewster
Executive Creative Director:
Beri Cheetham
Agency Creative:
Ben Newman
Agency Creative:
Blake Waters
Agency Creative:
Milo Williams

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