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Badnik Mechanic

Sega Lifeguard Potential Featuring Ecco

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I've wanted to make this topic for a great many years, but I've never been able to find anything on it, like pictures of video, up until a few hours ago. So I hope you enjoy.

When I was growing up I spent a lot of time Swimming, I was a member of a pretty big club and won a lot of competitions, I don't really do it much anymore, but back in the day I was a member of a big swimming club and for a long time, apart of a life saving club.

We did the usual things that a life saving club would do, how to save someone from drowning, first aid, how to do CPR as well as rescue people with suspected spinal injuries etc etc.

Well anyway, during the mid 90s Sega launched a campaign for safety in the water. It was a pretty big thing, they hired the cast from Baywatch (a huge show at the time) as well as Chris Evans (who was also huge with the Big Breakfast) and they had their own marketing team (the Head/Sega Skull, and the Cyber Razor cut man).

It was going to be a very big thing.

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The campaign was going to be done in several formats, the main thing was information packs and videos that would be sent out to Primary schools, around 25,000 UK primary schools got the material, including my own.

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Speaking from a personal experience, at the time my school was undergoing a major constuction plan, so we had temporary classrooms open and a lot of work we did would strangely vanish as there was no place to store it. Sadly, the Sega Lifeguard work was no exception. We spent around 2 days doing the stuff, mainly it involved watching the video and filling in worksheets.

The video itself was mainly the Baywatch cast running down the beach and occasionally David Hasselhoff would talk to the camera and say things like "Hi! I'm David Hasselhoff! Did you know that many children each year drown or get into trouble near water!" followed by a dreamy montage of dolphins swimming in the water and one of the women from Baywatch saying things like "Water is dangerous because it stops us from breaving." Occasionally there were clips of the videogame Ecco the dolphin and the Baywatch stars would say "Even Ecco needs to take a breath in order to survive, just like you and me!"

Baywatch wasn't that popular at my school, so many of us couldn't get into it, we all watched Gladiators and didn't really care too much for Baywatch, Gladiators was our Saturday nights, well anyway...

However... occasionally this fellow would also pop up on the screen.

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Big Breakfast was huge! Chris Evans was huge! Big Breakfast was very popular with kids, so when Chris Evans came on the screen it was a big thing. Chris Evans' role was mainly to provide some health and safety tips, like where you could swim, where you should dive and what you should do before during and after swimming.

The guy from the cyber razor cuts and the Sega Skull/Head thing would appear and give you some advice too, very much like the old Sega adverts from the 90s, I can only remember one of the 5 big safety tips that they gave me, mainly because it greatly condtradicted what I learnt at my life saving class and even the teacher singled me out and said "So there! You're wrong!" and actually named me even though I was right! That rule was "Don't go in alone: don't try to help someone at all if you are on your own, run and get help" I pointed out that "If you have the skills to help them, or if theres life saving equipment nearby like a life ring or a rope, surely you should throw it to them and pull them in instead of leaving them to die?" to which I was then told "BE QUIET! The video says don't help them! So don't help!"

That told me.

From that point on I made the decision to leave people to die... even if I did have the skills to help them.... yeah right. Miss Boot from Longhill Primary School, you miss Boot are a blithering idiot.

Well anyway.

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As part of the schools pack, there were several worksheets to fill in and certificates that you could win. My school only ever did the worksheets and never gave out the certificates, even though they had them as I saw the teachers pack that they were sent. The worksheets basically involved spotting the differences, putting the missing word in the sentance and circling all the dangers in a picture of a lake. One could argue just circling the whole picture would "complete task complete." All the worksheets had Ecco in the top corner.

Sadly this didn't appeal to much to us kids, most kids at my school didn't have Ecco, they were either Sonic fans or owned a Nintendo. Ecco didn't really do it for us so it didn't get us that excited.

Teachers didn't seem to like the campaign... Not just the ones at my own school, but it seems that others didn't like it, and their reasons were quite stupid and near hysterical counter mob levels of sanity.

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An anti marketing for children website explains

This is one of the few articles I can find which specifically mentions Segas Lifeguard video. It's from a bunch of teachers who hated it... they say...

Karen Sillett who is a teacher claimed...

What I find most distasteful about this video is that there's a very strong brand image, which is interspersed with very valuable information that I'm trying to get over to the children. That sort of Sega skull is very easily identifiable by the children. They all know it, and they relate to it. And it really detracts from the type of thing that I'm trying to get over to them. And the next thing we have, and here it is, look, you can see they've established Echo The Dolphin. And this is actually a game, a video game, that Sega are marketing at the moment.

Now remember this is was said back in the 90's. From watching the video, I think Karen is very wrong, the clips of Ecco were very short, it wasn't a very popular game for most kids, Sonic and Mario were the kings back in the day, Ecco wasn't even that popular, even though he was in STC, Ecco just wasn't that popular a character.

John Ward Director, National Consumer Council (again early 90s')

Why couldn't they have actually handed the money over to a safety organisation and said: Here, go and make as good a film as you possibly can on this particular topic. We'd like a mention at the beginning and we'd like a mention at the end. But as far as we're concerned, that's all we expect of it. But they didn't. They haven't exercised sufficient restraint. And they've managed to work into a very powerful message about safety a lot of very subtle marketing, almost subliminal advertising. It's really rather worrying.

His problenm with Segas campaign was that they should have just handed the money it took to do this to a health and safety charity or organisation instead of promoting their product.

Well thats all very well, except as a kid with a Sega Megadrive, I'm more inclined to respond to videogame characters than I will ever respond to random man who works on a lifeboat.

Jane Renton: (I think she was the narrator/host of the tv show on the subject)

Sega declined to be interviewed but told us teaching children basic life saving was a worthwhile exercise, the video was a change to give something back to the community. But Karen Sillett is uneasy.

I agree.

Karen Sillett: For years teachers have been supporting the education system by scrounging, but now they're actually being given these materials on a plate and said: here you are, use them. The dilemma is that we are then becoming tools for the company, we're actually promoting their product. And quite frankly, I resent being used in that way.

Karens basic problem is that teachers are being used as tools to promote the game. Well... I think that she either totally missed the point or wasn't a very good teacher, from what I remember, the campaign never promoted the game in a sense of "Hey buy the game!" it really did focus on the safety around water message, if anything, I'd say the campaign was promoting Baywatch more than anything else, the baywatch characters and the trained dolphin got far more focus than anything Sega did.

Constantly the hoff would pop up on the screen, point at you and say...

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Hey did you know it's not safe to swim on a beach when a lifeguard is not on duty?

Thanks hoff, what would I do without your advice... where do I live? Hull... theres not many beaches around here.

Now whilst schools were part of it, another large part of the campaign was with swimming clubs and life saving groups also a campaign going too. People who signed up to special classes were given lessons in how to cope if you should ever find yourself in water or if you had to rescue someone in difficulty as well as basic first aid and how to revive someone.

But, the classes were basic, and most clubs didn't bother with them as it covered material that they had already taught... but... members did get some stuff for being apart of it.

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I actually had that log book at one point, but I don't remember getting the dog tag. I also remember seeing the training packs (the big yellow things). The log books were not that interesting, there were a few bits of information and quizes for you to fill in, but it was supposed to be used along with the stuff you would learn at school, there were spaces in it for you to put your Baywatch certificates and other completed sheets/awards.

Notice how I said I used to have it? Well this is one reason why it's taken me so long to make this topic.

Back in the day I had the log book, but then the club I went to stopped doing the Sega stuff, so I went to another one. But... they didn't have the log books or much of the promotional content (I guess the campaign was nearing it's end) so when the instructor saw me with the log book, he asked if he could have it for the weekend... and he took it... then never gave it back... so I lost my log book... bastard.

I'd love to get another copy of it as it would be a nice thing to have from my swimming days.

Well thats my experience of the Sega Lifeguard Potential thing. Was anyone else involved with this? Or did you find your school being caught up in the campaign? Do you have the Log Book? If so... can I have it XD

Oh... as for the video? Well... I can't find a copy of it online... or ebay... but... there might be one place that has a copy.

Accoring to the West Lothian Council, the West Lothian College library still has a copy of it on tape and according to their records it's checked in, so it might be the last known resting place of this video. Otherwise, you'd be looking at trying to find a copy from a Primary School that never threw it out, and given the condition that these tapes would now be in (especially from ones stored at schools) I doubt theres many left in good condition.

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Splat.

So... did anyone else do this? Or have information about it?

Edit: as for the video. There are few clips from it here.

Can be found at 5:50 but it's a very short segment, the original video was around an hour long I think.

Edited by Hogfather

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Good lord I need those Sega DogTagz.

see what I did there?

....

I can honestly say that this is the first I've ever heard of such a program. As a inner-city youth I certainly wasn't the target demographic for anything water related, so it might be worth poking around some other people to see if this thing ever made the jump stateside. The whole thing sounds like a sweet deal though. I wish there were more programs devoted to raising water awareness around certain areas. The first aid involved alone makes such a program valuable.

Never thought Sega would team up with Baywatch though...

Nice to see Ecco again too.

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Firstly, my apologies for reviving a four-year-old thread.

In the mid-90s my younger sister would rent this video repeatedly from the local Blockbuster (I had no idea this video was intended for schools; how did it end up as a rental video in Blockbuster??) as she was heavily into swimming, galas, lifeguarding etc at the time. I remember fondly the SEGA head, the glimpses of Ecco, the BayWatch parts, and even a young Chris Evans. I also remember some of the rather obvious advice ("Try not to dive into water that isn't deep enough to dive into", and so forth).

I was able to find little information about the video online other than this thread, sadly. I wish I had made a copy of the video 20 years ago while I had the chance!

Seeing the screenshots in this thread certainly takes me back! Thank you for bringing this video back to the forefront of my mind!

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Well, I can shed a lot of light on this, if anyone is interested, after all this time.

You see...the whole thing was my idea.

Back the early 90s, I worked for a charity, the RLSS - the charity worked in the area of drowning prevention. Anyways.

I was in my early 20s, had a Megadrive, and used to love "Ecco the Dolphin". I smoked a lot of weed back then which might have had an impact on that.

Anyways. I got the idea - "Ecco" - water based  - Sega - at the time the *TOP* games firm, we tend to forget that, but they were - so loads of money (you should have seen their premises in London) - and after some good publicity after the "video games cause epilepsy" press.

So that's how it started. My boss pitched the idea - my idea - to Sega, they loved it, and opened their wallet up enough to involve Baywatch, and film the video in Hawaii. Which my boss went to. Not me. Boo.

And regarding Mr Evan's feature in the film - when we went to film his clips, just after an edition of "The Big Breakfast", he basically refused to do it (despite it being agreed). So phone calls to Sega had to be made and a load of wedge thrown his way. Class.

If I get any responses to this, I can tell of what happened when two of the stars of Baywatch came over to the UK for a week and I worked with them...

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14 minutes ago, used_to_be_in_RLSS said:

If I get any responses to this, I can tell of what happened when two of the stars of Baywatch came over to the UK for a week and I worked with them...

Please do.

You also don't happen to have the folder/binder which accompanied the campaign do you? A swimming instructor stole mine and I cannot remember what was inside it.

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Guess who's back reviving ancient threads?

Watched your YouTube video and really enjoyed it, Badnik Mechanic. I actually wanted to do a video on this myself, but your effort is so comprehensive and amusing that I'm not going to bother!

Again, apologies for reviving this thread. Hopefully my doing so revives the conversation, and helps us track down Binky (may the person left drowning rest in peace).

 

P.S. did you ever get your hands on a replacement log book?

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