Ad veteran Dee Madigan has led a chorus of complaints about a new campaign by the Heart Foundation that, despite the important message, appears to have got it horribly and insensitively wrong.
The trio of spots, titled “Do you want your family to suffer?”, appeared on the Heart Foundation’s Twitter account and YouTube channel yesterday with the message that dying of heart disease isn’t just bad for you, but it’s awful for the loved ones you leave behind.
Madigan immediately tweeting: “Just heard the @heartfoundation ad with a little kid saying ‘Mum never loved me. If she did she would have looked after her heart’ This isn’t just bad, this is a terrible terrible ad. Imagine how any kid who has lost a parent to heart disease feels when hearing this.”
The ads are the work of the Heart Foundation’s incumbent creative agency Host/Havas. B&T has contacted Host/Havas for comment but had not received a reply by publication.
However, in a statement to B&T, The Heart Foundation’s CMO Chris Taylor defended the work.”We are monitoring comments about the campaign and are aware aspects may upset some people,” he said, before adding: “In the week since we launched, we’ve had over 20,000 people go online and complete our Heart Age Calculator to get a better understanding of their own personal risk of heart disease. We are pleased the campaigning is having a positive effect.”
But the campaign has found few fans on social media with a chorus of complaints calling for the ad to be immediately pulled.
Erica Peak tweeted: “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.”
Jen O added: “This is a terribly cruel and nasty campaign – not good enough Heart Foundation.”
Sue Walker wrote: “Heartless. Breathtakingly poor judgment displayed in this campaign – devoid of sensitivity and empathy. Respectfully suggest you bin this one and start over.
Even a doctor chimed in: “Seriously? You *still* haven’t removed this from the air and issued an apology? Fortunately there are reputable organisations such as the Victor Chang Institute which are actually worth supporting. Imagine using donors money to create this excrement.”
While David Gee turned it into an indigenous issue: “Gee if you actually had blackfellas in your organisation, they would have strongly advised not to include Aboriginal people in this insipid ad given your complete lack of understanding of the issues affecting the heart health of Aboriginal Australians.”