The Heart Foundation is the charity that works to fight New Zealand’s biggest killer, heart disease. A staggering 6,500 people die of Heart Disease each year, and about half of these deaths are thought to be premature and preventable. Many people die because they don’t even know when they’re having a heart attack and fail to get treatment in time. This campaign was designed to educate the public of the real symptoms of a heart attack, and to get them to seek help before it’s too late.
To get across the point with the most intrigue and cut-through, a technique known to magicians as ‘misdirection’ was employed. We get the audience to look one way so that we can deceive them in full view without them noticing at all. This psychological effect is called selective attention. The audience was instructed to study the foreground so that they would miss all the action in the background. This gave the message far more cut through as viewers pay more attention when they are deceived than if they watch a straightforward message.
With a really low shooting budget, a single locked-off camera was used to make a compelling TVC that drove over 435,000 views on You Tube.
As soon as the campaign started, St John Ambulance reported a 30% increase in calls relating to heart episodes, and this has remained 20% higher ever since.
But did it actually save lives? Well, both Ian L. and Eddie D. can tell you that this campaign provoked the most direct of direct responses. Having seen the TV communication and witnessed the symptoms on screen, they realised that the understated chest discomfort they experienced might actually be a heart attack. They both called 111 and received life-saving emergency treatment. Ian’s doctor has confirmed that had he not responded as he did he would probably be dead.
As it turns out, advertising can be a matter of life or death.