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Controversial Heart Foundation ads pulled


Doug Hendrie


31/05/2019 4:37:00 PM

The Heart Foundation will no longer run its controversial ‘Heartless Words’ campaign following a strong backlash.

Heart and stethoscope
Heart Foundation Chair Chris Leptos apologised for a ‘misjudged’ campaign.

The emotive ads suggested people who did not look after their heart health did not care for their loved ones.
 
But major public backlash, including suggestions the ads represented victim-blaming, has forced the Heart Foundation to pull the campaign.
 
The backdown comes days after Heart Foundation Chief Marketing Officer Chris Taylor defended the campaign as a way to jolt Australians into action; however, foundation Chair Chris Leptos today apologised for a ‘misjudged’ campaign.
 
‘To all the people who have been offended by our campaign, we apologise, and to all those who provided their feedback, we have listened',’ he said in a statement. ‘We tried to take a bold and emotive approach. We misjudged it.
 
‘We had never intended to further hurt people already struggling with heart disease, or to further pain loved ones who have lost people to heart disease. It is clear, however, that many people feel we did both of those things.
 
‘To all of those people, we say a heartfelt “sorry”. Helping to relieve the suffering caused by heart disease is at the centre of everything we do. This campaign was devised with the best of intentions – to save lives – but it has had an unforeseen impact.’
 
In the statement, the Heart Foundation stated the campaign ‘used an emotional appeal to deliver the message that when we neglect our own hearts, we risk breaking the hearts of those who love us’.
 
The campaign was designed to encourage people to have a heart health check, given that heart disease is largely preventable. The foundation will bring out a new campaign soon.



Heart Foundation heart health


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