'Good marketing can truly save lives' - CMO on 'extraordinary' campaign

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 25 February 2019
Chris Taylor

“Good marketing can truly save lives”, says CMO of the Heart Foundation Chris Taylor.

The marketer’s comments follow news that in just one week, its new brand campaign in partnership with News Corp Australia has scored significant early wins, including plans for a Medicare-funded Heart Health Check that will save more than 9,000 lives over five years.

Last week the Heart Foundation’s ‘Serial Killer’ campaign rolled out across print, digital and broadcast. The launch featured bold cover stories on News Corp’s Sunday metro newspapers and a takeover of the True Crime Australia site, revealing the “criminal” as heart disease – the nation’s worst ever serial killer.


“One week after we launched our Serial Killer campaign we’ve received bipartisan support and Medicare will now fund heart health checks for all Australians at risk,” Taylor said.

“It’s an amazing result. Good marketing can truly save lives.”

Speaking to AdNews, Taylor said many of its requests have been on the table for several years but this campaign has brought about swift action.

Ad campaigns that can save lives are few and far between, with Taylor telling AdNews he's personally excited and humbled by the opportunity to apply his marketing knowledge and experience to such a worthwhile cause.

“I’ve personally seen the devastation heart disease can cause and I’m also pleased as a marketer that a creative idea can have such an overwhelming impact,” he said.

Off the back of the campaign public tri-partisan support (Federal Government, Federal Opposition and Greens) for more action on heart disease, including the need for Medicare-funded health checks and a $170-million commitment by the Federal Opposition for Medicare-funded checks if Labor wins the next election, are just a few of the early stage campaign results so far.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “too many Australians lose their life to heart related conditions every year”.

“From April 1, we will provide additional and dedicated Medicare support for heart health checks for every Australian who needs it,” he said.

“My commitment to Australians is backed by our Government’s ability to run a strong economy and get the budget into surplus. This is why we are able to back you all the way and fund the essential health services you need and Australians rely on."

The launch featured bold cover stories

In addition to the Medicare news, the Heart Foundation’s website traffic has increased by 270% and almost 2,000 media stories across print, online, radio and TV have helped spread the heart disease message to more than 20 million Australians.

Former Visa and MasterCard marketer Taylor said there has also been more than 140,000 unique completes of a new consumer Heart Age Calculator, which was launched in conjunction with the “Serial Killer” campaign.

“This early success demonstrates the power of a bold and brave marketing campaign,” Taylor said.

“When done right, impactful and purposeful marketing can have an immediate and far-reaching effect on the community and the lives of all Australians."

The organisation said Australians have “dangerous levels” of complacency about the nation’s leading cause of death, heart disease, with the campaign likening heart disease to a dangerous and indiscriminate serial killer taking 51 Australian lives every day.

Despite taking a life every 28 minutes, Taylor said heart disease wasn’t being tackled or talked about enough by the community or the government.

Created by News Corp’s media and marketing division Newsamp, the campaign taps into the current popularity of true crime stories by highlighting that heart disease kills 51 people per day.

Taylor said the campaign is a great case study of working together with the media to cut through to consumers and government to make a positive impact on the Australian community.

“Our media investment has been amplified by the tremendous editorial support we’ve received from our partners at News Corp, which was then picked up by other media nationwide,” Taylor said.

A “remarkable victory”

News Corp Australia chief operating officer of publishing, Damian Eales, called the impact of the campaign “extraordinary” and stressed the power and importance of effective messaging across the right channels and platforms.

“By working with News Corp, the Heart Foundation has won a remarkable victory for the health of this country. We are proud of what we have achieved together,” Eales said.

Group CEO of the Heart Foundation, adjunct professor John Kelly, said the Heart Foundation’s marketing team has been working diligently on the project for months and will “continue working tirelessly” on behalf of the Australian community to protect hearts and save lives.

“This is a terrific reward for their creativity and hard work, but it is also just the beginning.

The four-week Serial Killer campaign will continue to be complemented by editorial advocacy and social media sharing the hashtag #showsometicker.

The campaign also includes prominent Australians sharing how heart disease has touched their lives, such as retired NSW Police assistant commissioner Clive Small and The Sunday Telegraph editor Mick Carroll.

Former marketing for Woolworths' digital and e-commerce team, WooliesX, Taylor, joined The National Heart Foundation last year, and was quick to call a review for a new agency.

It was one of the first major wins for Host/Havas since the two agencies merged last year.

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