Heart and Stroke Foundation Television Ads; Too Edgy? NaBloPoMo Day 19

The other night while taking in my daily dose of Coronation Street, a very weird commercial came on the television. It was so weird and disturbing that rather than pvr through the ad, we let it play and watched with bated breath to see just what the ad was about.

As it turns out, the creepy ad with the stalker-like voice was an ad by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to raise awareness in women (and to raise money) about their risk of heart disease and stroke. At the end of the ad my Sweetheart and I looked at each other and sort of exhaled while saying, “Wow, that’s creepy but it sure makes you pay attention!”

As it turns out, we were not the only ones to feel this way about the ad. A blogger friend of mine, Jarrah Hodge, the creative genius behind Gender Focus also found the ads unsettling;

My reaction was to feel unsettled. I felt the distanced visuals made the disembodied male voice sound like a stalker. One of the images on the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website reads: “Death Loves the Ladies” (above) only reinforced the creepy feeling for me.

What do you think of the ads? Are they too edgy?

Or are they what is needed to get the message across? Thoughts?






3 responses to “Heart and Stroke Foundation Television Ads; Too Edgy? NaBloPoMo Day 19”

  1. Paul Steer Avatar
    Paul Steer

    Yes. The ads are edgy and will no doubt capture the attention of women, and probably a few men. And it sends its message very well, using an array of video and audio techniques. It will likely be effective in triggering an anxiety/fear response in many women, and men. Now, in one word, what was the purpose of the ad?


    It wasn’t improvment of health, risk mitigation, prevention, and the intent of the ad wasn’t therapeutic. The purpose of the ad was to trigger a fear/anxiety reponse among women, a few of whom would feel sufficiently anxious or fearful to cut a cheque to the Heart and Stroke Fund. Donating money is so easy and so effective in getting rid of anxiety, and in this case fear: fear among women of sudden death through heart attack.

    As a man who loves women, I find the ad edgy, creepy, and probably effective in triggering an anxiety/fear response among women, but I object to the cynical manipulation of these feelings to serve the money-raising needs of the Heart and Stroke Fund.

  2. Caitlyn James Avatar

    I LOVE it!

    Paul, I appreciate your empathy – and I am not sure I’m exactly representative of women my age – but for me it was edgy not creating fear or anxiety. Simply catching attention with a well-placed message. Death is a stalker.

    It raised my awareness. I didn’t know heart and stroke were the #1 killers of women.

    Many of us, in our 50’s or more, are very aware of lifestyle changes we should probably make – I don’t need a commercial to tell me to lose weight, stop smoking, watch the cholesterol, and neither do my friends. A little jolt to remind us to make our health a priority, and prime us to donate when someone calls or knocks on our door or a colleague asks seems to work for me.

  3. Claude Avatar

    As a woman, I was horrified by this ad. I showed it to my husband and he too was appalled. The whole situation brings to mind a serial killer/stalker waiting to pounce. Given that the associate director of the H&S foundation of Canada (in charge of communications and messaging, among others) is/was married to the psychopath serial rapist and killer Russell Williams, we find this ad with its intention to instill fear and anxiety and manipulate women’s emotions beyond bad taste and disrespect, it is downright perverse. What is this association thinking? Is Russell Williams’ mentality growing on them? Donations????? They sure won’t get a penny from us. Oh, and for those who LOVE this type of emotional terrorism, how about giving a thought to the female (and other) victims of psychopathic violence? Education is not done through emotional rape. But this is not about education, is it? It’s about money…