Heart and Stroke Foundation debuts “Make Health Last”

February 05, 2013  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

Canadians are increasingly making Death wait. However, its associate – Poor Health – continues to arrive much earlier than expected for Baby Boomers making poor lifestyle choices.

That is the crux of a new Heart and Stroke Foundation awareness campaign – “Make Health Last” – from Toronto agency Lowe Roche, which agency CEO Monica Ruffo calls the “smiley cousin” to last year’s “Make Death Wait” campaign.

The new campaign is built around TV, print and a dedicated website, MakeHealthLast.ca, where people can conduct their own risk assessment and donate to the national charity. The web experience is “central” to the campaign, said Ruffo. “It permits a personalized journey towards greater health with lots and lots of unexpected functionality.”

A 60-second spot entitled “Last 10” uses a split-screen technique to addresses the disconnect between Canadians’ perception of how they will spend their final years and the often harsher reality of years spent in decline.

The spot opens with the curtain being thrown open in a room overlooking a bucolic nature scene on one side and a hospital room on the other, and continues with images that include a tackle box juxtaposed with a box of pills, a man adjusting his wristwatch and health bracelet, and being teased with a juice carton by a young girl and being helped to drink by a caregiver. Print ads follow the same juxtaposition tactic.

“The campaign is really about getting people to understand that they can greatly influence their health outcome – it is about making the right choices to reduce your risk factors,” said Ruffo. “It’s about taking action in your life.”

The new work follows last year’s “Make Death Wait” campaign, which focused on the fickle nature of death when it comes to heart disease and stroke. While some found the spot hard to watch (as several commenters on MarketingMag.ca’s story did), it garnered “phenomenal results,” said Ruffo, including 87% awareness and a 20% increase in donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

This year’s campaign is urging at-risk Canadians to make lifestyle changes. “Now that we have woken people up to the real possibility of heart disease, we want to empower them to take action,” she said.

A new report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation entitled “Reality Check” has found that while Canadians are living longer on average, there is a 10-year gap between how long we live and how long we live healthily.

An online survey of 800 Canadian Baby Boomers conducted by Leger Marketing in November 2012 found that almost 80% think their doctor would rate them as healthy.

However, that statistic is contradicted by lifestyle choices that include not eating enough vegetables and fruit (85%), failing to get enough physical exercise (40%), smoking (21%) and heavy drinking (11%).

The Heart and Stroke Foundation warns that these choices “directly contribute” to boomers living their final years in sickness rather than enjoying the benefits of retirement such as travel, spending time with family, etc. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadians can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 80% with appropriate lifestyle modifications.

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