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British Heart Foundation kickstarts ‘emotional punch’ strategy with hard hitting campaign

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has ditched its advert fronted by kids in favour of a hard hitting spot to show the sudden devastation caused by heart disease.

Its previous efforts to raise awareness centred on an advert where children affected by heart disease tried to pronounce the medical terms for their illnesses. At the time of the campaign, BHF director of marketing and engagement Carolan Davidge said it wanted to “avoid charity fatigue” with shock advertising.

However, the BHF has now trying a new tact and is looking to “give people an emotional punch”, said Davidge, with the wave of fresh activity.

“This campaign marks the start of a long term strategy for BHF to shift the way people think about heart disease. By making people contemplate the unexpected devastation that heart disease causes, we hope to inspire people to donate funds to continue BHF’s lifesaving research,” she said.

The latest campaign, created by DLKW Lowe, runs with the tagline ‘Heart disease is heartless’ and looks to show the affect it can have on anyone at anytime.

It centres on a spot – which will run on TV and cinema – called ‘Classroom’ where a young boy in a school lesson is suddenly seen talking to his dad. The son is confused as his dad tries to say goodbye before the lesson is interrupted because the boy is taken into a room with his upset mother. The advert was directed by Tom Tagholm of Park Pictures

It comes as part of a wider three-year "shift in thinking" at the organisation to better embrace digital channels and social media.

The TV advert will be supported with in an online film called ‘Amazing Dog’, where viewers watch through a camera lens as an owner films her dog doing tricks before the camera suddenly drops to the ground.

Finally, native film content which will run on the Skype platform follows the same format, showing a couple celebrating their anniversary via Skype. The woman suffers a heart attack dropping to the floor leaving her partner concerned on the screen.

A piece of mobile activation also brings the reality of a heart attack's impact down to a personal level with the ‘Heart Attack Simulator’. Users are asked to hold their mobile phone against their heart to understand what a heart attack feels like.

However, as they brace for a simulation of an actual heart attack, instead their phone rings and an audio message describes the real pain of a heart attack is getting a call like this to say a loved one is dead.

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