Heartless Words: Heart Foundation launches provocative awareness campaign via Host/Havas
The Heart Foundation has today launched a powerful and provocative campaign via Host/Havas Sydney, to raise awareness of the impact on loved ones’ hearts when individuals neglect their heart health.
The integrated awareness campaign is designed to build on the momentum generated by the ‘Serial Killer’ campaign launched in February with News Corp Australia, which drove the Federal Government to fund a new Medicare item for Heart Health Checks.
The ‘Heartless Words’ campaign is a powerful reminder of what’s at stake when you neglect your heart health and the importance of Heart Health Checks in preventing heart attacks, strokes and deaths.
The emotive creative delivers a heartbreaking message: when we neglect our own hearts, we risk breaking the hearts of those who love us. In communicating that the risks associated with not having a Heart Health Check are not worth taking, the creative drives people to act, if not for themselves, then for the people they most care about.
The Federal Government added Heart Health Checks to the Medicare Benefits Schedule on April 1 in response to the Heart Foundation’s initial awareness campaign, which highlighted heart disease as society’s number one Serial Killer.
The current national campaign will run for eight weeks and continue in lighter bursts until December. It includes TV, digital and outdoor advertising; promotion on the Heart Foundation website and social media channels; and metropolitan, local and regional press advertorial and editorial features via News Corp Australia’s print and digital assets, including a 20-page Heart Health print edition of Body+Soul.
Says Chris Taylor, chief marketing officer, Heart Foundation: “Our previous ‘Serial Killer’ campaign reminded Australians and our nation’s leaders that heart disease is still our single number one killer. In the first seven days, the campaign achieved tri-partisan support to fund life-saving Heart Health Checks through Medicare, with a new dedicated Medicare item number.”
The ‘Heartless Words’ campaign is aimed at getting Australians to take advantage of the Medicare benefit and see their GP for a Heart Health Check, which could prevent up to 76,500 heart events over the next five years, including heart attacks and strokes, and up to 9,100 deaths.
Says Taylor: “When it comes to our health, we often only think about the effect it has on us. By highlighting the effect that neglecting your heart health can have on your loved ones, we hope to convince people to act, if not for themselves, then for those closest to them.
“We have taken a fearless approach in challenging Australians to think about their hearts. We are encouraging Australians to take one action that will make a significant impact on their own heart and the hearts of those they love.”
The Heart Foundation’s web-based Heart Age Calculator, launched with the Serial Killer campaign, will continue to feature as a strong call to action. So far, a staggering 400,000 Australians have taken the test.
Says Taylor: “The team at Host/Havas has shown that they’re the ideal creative partner to help us turn the tide of complacency towards heart disease. Their impressive ability to deliver creatively and strategically while pushing the boundaries and challenging traditional communications will enable us to make a resounding impact on Australia’s heart health.
“In addition, our partnership with News Corp Australia has helped us reach millions of Australians in every corner of the country, people who are either at risk of heart attack and stroke, or who can help save a loved one by encouraging them to take action.”
Says Jon Austin, executive creative director, Host/Havas: “While working with the Heart Foundation, the agency team decided to go and get their heart health checked. Many of us kept deprioritising it and putting emails and meetings ahead of the 20-minute appointment.
“This made us realise that we were quite literally choosing work over our hearts and the hearts of those who loved us; that we were voluntarily putting ourselves at risk. The team have done a phenomenal job in creating a powerful reminder of the potential significance of inaction.”
Says Damian Sales, chief operating officer, News Corp Australia: “Heartless Words is a powerful message to convey and, through heart-wrenching and heartwarming storytelling across our multimedia assets, we aim to illustrate the detrimental impact of apathy towards heart health.”
The campaign is part of a holistic Heart Foundation brand push that will roll out in phases in 2019 in collaboration with News Corp Australia and Host/Havas. The aim is to not only improve Australians’ heart health, but to make real, positive change by calling on the nation’s leaders and health decision makers to act on the Heart Foundation’s seven-point advocacy plan.
ECD: Jon Austin
Copywriter: Anthony Campagna
Art Director: Jari Kennedy
Senior Broadcast Producer: Stephanie Cameron
CSO: Olly Taylor:
Senior Planner: Will Moore
Managing Partner: Ant Moore
Senior Account Director: Rachel Lovibond
Senior Account Manager: Gillian Last
Head of Design: Nic Adamovich
Senior Designer: Pip Snelling
Studio Lead: Michelle Skold
Production company: FINCH
Managing director / Executive Producer: Corey Esse
Producer: Amy Dymond
Director: Derin seale
DOP : Matt Toll
Production Designer: Katie Sharrock
Edit House: ARC Edit
Editor: Lucas Baynes
Post Production: Nakatomi
Music & sound: Song Zu
Composer: Ramesh Sathiah
Sound Design: Abigail Sie
Client: Heart Foundation
CMO: Chris Taylor
Director, campaigns & partnerships: Caroline Elton
Campaign manager: Ashleigh Beddoes
Really love this. As someone with a stent (who put it off for an inexcusable amount of time), I find this incredibly fucking powerful. Brave client. Bravo all.
Genuinely heart wrenching stuff. And some of the best performances I’ve seen in a long while. Let down by the 15s a bit, but that hero spot is goosebump-inducing.
Kudos for getting something this raw and unflinching out. Will definitely start a conversation.
Brilliant to see something with teeth in this category.
Call me old fashioned, but I thought this was a bit too provocative for TV. My wife on the other hand thought it was the best thing she’d seen in a long time. Certainly caused some lively conversation!
The word ‘just’ should be after ‘affect’, not before it
Nice one grammarly. Sweet pick up.
This work is so predictable!
The idea and strategy of “(insert problem) doesn’t just affect you, it also affects your family” is overused, bland and terribly, terribly lazy.
I also thought it was one of those ineffective, 90’s anti-smoking ads at first. Where’s the freshness, the originality?
The other ‘serial killer’ thing the Heart Foundation did was more interesting than this.
Your credentials as someone who knows ‘fresh’ work goes out the window when you prefer their award school student-esque serial killer campaign – an idea that is an embarrassing and shameless rip of the NZ Heart Foundation work from half a decade ago. This is excellent. Well done to everyone involved.
Sorry, but your credentials go out the window too when you refer to this work as ‘excellent’. Really?
Not just ‘okay’, ‘good’, or ‘great’ but ‘excellent’?
You’re easily pleased. Good way to celebrate mediocrity.
Thesaurus.com just called. They want to be added to the list of clients who don’t want you on their business.
This rulez homies
You’re right. My opinion was the amateurish, dissenting one on this thread. Move along, kid.
Sorry, but this isn’t okay, good, great, or excellent.
Surely another day or two of thinking would have got this to a more original place. Just because something is heavy and on TV doesn’t mean it’s clever. I’m not a fan of the serial killer work but at least it’s an interesting idea. This is a very old idea with a mildly interesting execution. Has to be said.
Some scenes work better than others, but all in all this is strong stuff. That first scene got me bad!
Harrowing enough for me to book my check in. Well played.
I would put money on the first five comments in this thread being written by the client. Waaaay too enthusiastic dudes. If you’re going to comment on your own work, subtlety is key. This is pretty average scare-tactic victim blaming stuff. Won’t be bothering any Cannes juries any time soon.
Looks like a blown out episode of Bold and the Beautiful. Absolutely shocking typography and ironically a heartless, tired and utterly uninspiring idea. Swing and a miss.
Fuck yeah Campagnabrief.
Don’t listen to these fuckstains.
Awesome work A & J. Super powerful.
I was deeply offended and upset by this campaign. For those of us who have lost family to heart disease or heart failure it is a clumsy and utterly objectionable approach. The heart foundation and the agency involved should be deeply ashamed.
My brother-in-law (and a father of 2) died from a completely preventable case of heart disease due to terrible diet, alcohol and ciggies. I get your POV and I sympathize but I disagree entirely. This is the message Australia needs to hear.
We can agree to disagree, but its clumsy and thoughtless in my opinion.
The message needs to be delivered. But the messenger was the wrong choice
where’s your initial cap or is a pseudonym not a proper noun anymore my mistake. It’s not an dissertation bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The way the line is written is a mroe accurate reflection of how people talk than your lame-arse leather elbow patch suggestion. Maybe try saying out loud to a friend? Do a bit of a strawwy. Or is the Heart Foundation suddenly now in the businness of educating people on the Queen’s???????????????? Is this trgggiering for you>>?
GeT A lifffeeeeeeee you trolling numbnutszzzzzzz
Meanwhile, great spots and who cares about the details these CB trainspotters are pretending to give a shit about. Goes with the territory. The truly forgettable ads get zero comments, so congrats. What matters is how the work makes people feel, and what it makes them do.
Nice work to all responsible, I think this will get bums off seats and at least having a go at the free blood pressure monitor at the chemist. If you can get past the thought of just how many arms that thing has been on.
You should be ashamed of running this campaign. It’s classist and ableist. I’ve lost family members to stroke and this is a total slap in the face. How dare you launch a targeted fear campaign at perfectly innocent people when you could be lobbying business/government to do these checks routinely.
Shock tactics at its inconsiderate best.
Utterly awful and seems conjured up by out of touch people thinking they are being clever. My brother died suddenly of a cardiac arrest leaving behind his two year old boy. I would be horrified if his son saw this awful awful advertising. Horrible insensitive stuff that I doubt will have any impact except to distress people who have suffered loss, often in unpreventable circumstances.
How did so many people thing this is a good idea? insensitive, poorly executed, and why the hell did the heart foundation give this a thumbs up when they *know* sometimes it’s purely genetic?
Confronting? Absolutely! – Conversation Starter? You bet.
As someone with a multi-generation history of heart disease in the family this certainly cuts through, and in a good way.
Makes you take a hard look at yourself and reflect if your decisions in the moment are doing everything you can to prevent or delay this.
Lost my grandfather and very recently almost lost my father to heart disease. With the decisions I make today do I want to blindly follow in that path versus my own kids, or do i make some hard decisions to prevent that outcome as much as I can.
With a family history like that, you’re next. If you haven’t already modified your diet, lost weight, quit smoking, taken up exercise and sought medical advice and medication, do so. I too had a family history of HD but thought it couldn’t happen to me, despite the inevitability of it. I survived a heart attack at age 41. Whilst I applaud the confrontational approach of this campaign, perhaps a better approach strategically would be to confront complacency – with a creative execution that has all the cut-through of the work we’re debating, of course.
What an insensitive and thoughtless campaign. Not only painful for family member left behind to be reminded of their loss but to be told that they weren’t loved.
I really appreciate the agency coming at this from a different angle, but the end result just leaves me cold. My dad died of a heart attack largely caused by a lifetime of smoking. But he didn’t smoke because he was indifferent to us – he smoked because that’s just what his generation did. Yes, we need to get people to question their life choices – so much of this shit is actually preventable – but it’s a gross oversimplification to say that people’s overeating, their drinking habits, their sedentary lifestyle, all comes down to their indifference.
Most of all, I think it doesn’t ring true. I don’t believe that it’s unearthed any real truth. Remember the Quit ad with the little boy left alone at the train station a few years ago? That was also a different, shocking take on a preventable health issue, but it rang true. You watch this as a smoker / drinker / bad eater and you go ‘horse shit, I love my kids more than life itself. You watched the Quit ad as a smoker and went ‘fuck, what are they going to do without me?’
I’m surprised this got past the first internal tbh. Feels like a first thought. Surely there are more interesting and effective ways to get the point across without blaming victims, the majority of whom, thanks their low socioeconomic status, have fewer opportunities than us privileged c*nts in adland. And sure, there’s collateral damage associated with heart disease, but blaming these people while simultaneously flogging them crisps and booze and all manner of other shite strikes me as pretty low.
Sorry. This would have been way better if all 78 of the creatives who ‘worked’ on me had just a second to work on this.
Yeah, not a fan. Provocative? Yes. But, I agree with the comments above. This ad feels like it’s pissing on people’s graves.
This is selfish work done by creatives purely designed to be controversial and bought by a client so desperate to be noticed. It’s insensitive, not clever and brand damaging. In one single film they’ve managed to tarnish a brand that for so long meant so much to Australians.
People at Host/Havas and The Heart Foundation will be defending this work by saying crap like “any publicity is good publicity” and “well at least we got Australia talking” but that’s the shit you say when you stuff up.
Truth is this campaign has hurt many, many Australians and has undone all the work the brand has done over the years. I for one will not be supporting them anymore.
The ad is great. Well done to the agency and the client.
I’m generally not a fan of negative advertising, but far too long heart disease has been the conversation too many Australians have avoided.
How many of us who should have a heart check have ever bothered to have one?
I hadn’t, despite being over-weight and having a family history of heart disease.
But, when I first saw the Heart Foundation’s Serial Killer campaign – and because of my family’s history –
I immediately booked in for a Cardiac CT angiogram.
Fortunately, my results were good.
So, I congratulate the Heart Foundation on achieving what many have tried, but failed to achieve – saving lives by making a simple heart check part of our lives.
And to all those critical of this campaign, I simply say, for me, this is one time when the end does justify the means.
Says Taylor: “The team at Host/Havas has shown that they’re the ideal creative partner…. ”
So this was pitch winning work?
I can only imagine some of the other talented agencies you had on the pitch keen to help and this is the work you went with? A terribly insensitive, common insight driven, traditional TV commercial. Genius.
Yes this is upsetting and controversial. It feels like a completely different approach for our Heart Foundation. It’s also the only thing that’s ever made my mum and dad book in a visit to their gp.
So well bloody done. This is causing a stir but it’s also getting people to actually think about our hearts. Hang in there Heart Foundation. People will look back at this and see that this was the moment people finally started to act.
Mine did exactly same. Contrary to some of the comments here, I don’t think this was rash or ill conceived at all. I think it was meticulously created and probably intensely debated, and in the end decided that in a country with a genuine health epidemic, long overdue action was worth the outrage. It makes me respect the brand more, not less.
I have worked with this CMO.The work comes as no surprise.Read into that what you will.
Legitimately the whole country hates this ad so much they want to pull it. But yeah great job guys…
I think it’s a bit clumsy of an execution, and the whole ‘it affects family too’ thing is over-used.
Can empathise with people who have lost loved ones and feel offended.
But if the purpose of this spot is to make people think about their heart health, and get checked, then job done.
Wouldn’t you rather protect more lives, than protect people’s feelings?
‘I have a genetic tendency to heart problems through inherited high blood pressure and inherited high cholesterol. I take medication, I have heart checks. I eat healthily, I exercise. I’ll probably still get heart disease. How DARE you imply that I am irresponsible and uncaring,’ one person tweeted.
One man posted: ‘I am a heart attack survivor. This is the most insincere ad campaign I have seen. It is a total insult to all of us survivors who have ever supported the Heart Foundation.’
The ad hit a nerve for those who have lost loved ones to heart disease.
‘My father died suddenly due to a heart attack when I was four. My grief was soon replaced by confusion and embarrassment. This ad would have exacerbated both,’ one person tweeted.
One woman added: ‘If this isn’t the most hurtful ad that I’ve seen in forever. My dad died of hereditary heart disease. He battled it his whole life. Whilst your message is important, it’s deliverance is hurtful, insensitive and just plain ignorant.’
The cliche of people talking outside of their minds, with words that feel forced, unrealistic and unnatural. Preaching.
And then straight up victim blaming people on their death bed.
This campaign is meant to be about prevention awareness, not ‘f you’ for dying because you didn’t go to our website.
And the headline is a big ‘no duh’, which is why it’s so offensive. Imagine being in the hospital with heart disease seeing this ad.
Clearly made in a vacuum.
So what if this has made some people book heart health checks? You could have achieved that same goal in a less disgusting, painful, hurtful way. Stop defending your shitty ad on this website and go do something to save your brand.
The CMO is the husband of the former Tourism Australia CMO.Yeah the clever woman who did the Dundee campaign with Droga 5.
Maybe he should ask her for some lessons.
I’m not from advertising, I’m just a guy that lost his father at 18 to a heart attack that my mother had to witness for 50minute while her husband screamed in pain towards his death. Good to know he didn’t love any of us on top of our grief.
Whoever approved or made this ad should be ashamed. You have a job to do, I get it, but not like this. simple insensitive.
The basic ‘syndrome’ is commonly referred to as the ‘ripple effect’ and has been used many times, mostly in road safety, and as recently as 2017 by Transport for NSW. Usually highly effective, and that’s what counts.
I hate these ads. So cruel.
Posting positive comments about yourselves – good job