Make Health Last Campaign [Heart and Stroke]

Not-for-Profit (BRONZE)

Client Credits: The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Geoff Craig, Chief Marketing Officer
Kelly McCarten, Campaign Lead
Joanne Cullen, Senior Marketing Manager

Agency Credits: Lowe Roche
Sean Ohlenkamp, Executive Creative Director
Laura Davis, Account Director
JP Gravina, Art Director
Matthew Camara, Art Director
Simon Craig, Copywriter
Jeremy Richard, Copywriter
Jordan Gabriel, Copywriter
Martin Rivard, Copywriter
Odile Coiteux, Copywriter
Beth MacKinnon, Print Producer
Sandy Cole, Broadcast Producer
Andrea Page, Interactive Producer
Ralph Reefke, Technical Director


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):December 2011 - July 2013
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: December 2011
Base Period as a Benchmark: Calendar 2010

a) Overall Assessment

With an impressive 60-year tenure in the landscape of Canadian Health Charities, the Heart & Stroke Foundation had firmly established itself as the Grandfather in its competitive set.


2010 research showed that the Foundation’s relevance was waning with the emergence of several “sexier” causes such as Livestrong, Movember, and the continued growth of popular Children’s and Cancer charities. In comparison, the Heart & Stroke Foundation was perceived as old and stodgy – run and supported by older Canadians to fund help for a disease that afflicts older people.


In addition, Canadians had grown deeply apathetic toward heart disease and stroke, and viewed the illness as an “old white man’s disease”, “simply? an inevitability of getting old – something [they’d] have to manage someday.”

There was very little fear of the disease or its associated ailments versus those perceived as closer to home, such as cancer.


Recognizing the scope of these ambitious and complex objectives, our strategy become twofold:

  • Year 1: We needed to alert people to the realities of heart disease – in particular, women.
  • Year 2: We needed to translate this awareness into action and donations.


In year one of 2011 we launched “Make Death Wait” – a provocative wake up call to apathetic Baby Boomers that heart disease and stroke was the number 1 killer of women and took 1 in 3 lives before their time. Not to mention, heart disease and stroke are two of the three top leading causes of death for Canadians.


Moving forward with year two, the Heart & Stroke Foundation now needed a fresh approach to shift perceptions and inspire behavioural change. Now that we had successfully made Canadian Baby Boomers aware of the terrifying realities of the disease, we had to motivate them in a way that would drive revolutionary action in order to prevent losing precious quality-filled years.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Given our challenge of a 30% reduction in budget from Year 1 to Year 2, and the realities of almost one year out of market, we collaborated with the Foundation to develop KPI’s that would drive us toward building upon the success of Year 1 and move us from awareness to a deeper level of engagement:


  • Sustain Brand awareness at 70%
  • Continue to build relevancy – goal 40%
  • Continue to build on emotional connection – goal 40%
  • 130K completed online risk assessments by end of August 2013
  • Increase in web traffic by 20% (vs. Year 1 of 173K visits) by end of August 2013

c) Annual Media Budget
Over $5 million

d) Geographic Area

a) Analysis and Insight

For Year 2, we conducted qualitative and anthropological research to gain a deeper understanding of our Baby Boomer target and their vision of the years ahead. We also poured over information on how to encourage overall health behaviour change.


The numbers were clear. Despite perceptions, heart disease and stroke was by no means just an old man’s ailment, and was far scarier than cancer in terms of prevalence. In fact, it was the number one killer of women in Canada and killed 1 in 3 Canadians before their time. The 5 major risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke – poor nutrition, obesity, smoking, binge alcohol consumption, and stress – made 9 out of 10 Canadians susceptible to the disease.


From this point we uncovered our starting truth: heart disease steals more years than any other disease.


But what did this really mean? Would this notion be frightening enough to get Canadians to wake up and pay attention? How could we bring this to life in a meaningful way? To know for certain, we needed to dig deep to really understand what the value of “years” and “time” meant to Canadians.


The real question was: how do people value time?


We continued with a series of qualitative interviews with heart and stroke survivors. There are no better personalities to talk about the importance of time and the threat of lost years than those who had experienced it first hand.


Our discovery was quite surprising: even after facing death head-on, what mattered most to survivors was not gaining more time, but gaining meaningful time. Time was of little to no value unless it could be used to the fullest.


One survivor noted: “Even now… I’m not interested in more time unless it’s good quality time where I can do the things I love. Don’t just give me more breathing time.”


This investigation brought us to the notion that when it came to time ‘quality’ trumped ‘quantity’. But was this thought only true to survivors, who now had a second chance at bringing meaning to their lives? Or was it true for other Canadians as well?


To pressure test this hypothesis, we enlisted renowned Anthropologist and author Grant McCracken. He helped us get take an even deeper look at the Foundation’s primary target, Baby Boomers, to gauge their feelings on time and the years ahead. 


The reality was that Boomers were going to live with greater means than any other generation before them, and they were actively redefining aging and the time that lay ahead. Unlike preceding generations, Boomers no longer saw aging or “growing old” as a process of decline; they saw it as a process of expansion. An opportunity to explore passions, seek adventure, and spend active and meaningful time with family. For Boomers, the years ahead only had value if they could be filled with the very best.


Our hypothesis proved correct for our Boomer target: ‘quality’ trumped ‘quantity’.


It was also clear that Boomers had a very unrealistic view of how they’d live those later years. We knew this idealism wasn’t in line with reality, but we needed to prove it.


As we poured over additional information on the realities for aging Boomers, we discovered a fact that held true for the United States: despite our advancements in medical care – and despite the fact we are living longer – Americans were not living their extra years in good health (Journal of Gerontology, 2011).


Now, what about Canada? We immediately turned to the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s research and mission teams to see if the trends were the same in Canada. We discovered the numbers had never been calculated, but health trends were similar. We probed further.


After a collaborative effort between the agency strategy team and the Foundation, a fresh statistic was unearthed for Canada: the average Canadian will spend their last ten years in sickness and disease.


So there it was. The proof we needed, and feared - The expansionary future that Canadian Baby Boomers envisioned simply would not happen if conscious and habitual behaviour remained unchanged.

b) Communication Strategy

The Heart & Stroke Foundation now had a unique opportunity.


We knew that 80% of heart disease and stroke was actually preventable. By making even small changes to the five controllable risk factors associated with the disease, Canadians could drastically reduce the number of years they’d spend in poor health. At the center of our Big Idea, we needed a comprehensive online resource that would allow Canadians to assess their risk, educate themselves on what could be done, and access the necessary tools to take action.


By helping Canadians create meaningful change, the Foundation would find new relevance and build a league of new supporters.


Our Mantra: Together We Can Make Health Last


In February 2013, we launched the provocative Make Health Last campaign, aimed at our baby boomer target, to trigger action in a three-pronged approach:


1) Wake Them

  • By alerting them to the alarming fact


2) Shake Them

  • By providing hope that they can change their fate


3) Make Them

  • Inspired and motivated to change their health behaviour


Wake Them & Shake Them

Wake them to understand the current reality and shake them to see there is hope. Through mass media vehicles, including provocative :30 and :60 TV, we revealed the alarming fact and promised that change was possible if Canadians made a choice today. Radio, Print, Media Integration Partnerships, and OOH also presented the current reality and the element of choice.


But simply providing the facts and offering Canadians a choice to change their fates was not enough. We needed to do more.


We had to make them inspired to make the simple daily changes to their health behaviour that would ensure they lived healthier, longer lives.


In order to inspire steps towards greater health, we needed to provide the means and tools to facilitate change. After extensive research on behavioral change we developed a completely personalized experience via an online campaign microsite.


Make Them

Our research revealed that the old adage was no longer an effective means of motivating people to change their behavior (Institute for the Future, 2012; Harvard Medical Journal, 2012). Today, it was essential that methods of behavioral change be easy to follow, highly relevant to each individual’s needs, and most importantly, fun! With these three core tenants in mind, we designed a comprehensive and personalized health education tool,


The modular, user-friendly site immediately offered first time visitors the opportunity to customize?their experience. The journey began with the user encouraged to take a Risk Assessment® – a 7 minute medical survey that effectively determined their major risk factors based on info related to their current habits, hereditary considerations, and previous medical history. Once the assessment was completed, the site adjusted to offer up only the simple tips, tools, and content most relevant to their personal results. Users could set simple and trackable goals, create a progress diary, record a time capsule to their future healthier self, and even share information with loved ones via social media vehicles. Not to mention, they were encouraged to come back often via email. All of their goals, info, and favorite tips were saved.

a) Media Used

  • TV
  • Print
  • Radio
  • OOH
  • Media Integration Partnership
  • Digital

b) Creative Discussion

Our extensive research showed that Canadians have a choice about how they live their last 10 years. The creative needed to empower Canadians by providing them with the facts and tools make healthy choices about their future.


In TV, we used a split screen narrative to follow the life of a man through two possible fates: on the left, a life filled with vitality; and on the right, a life defined by sickness and disease. We asked our audience how they will spend their last 10 years, encouraging them to change their future at


Print and OOH mirrored the juxtaposition found in commercial. Each ad presents a choice by presenting two options of a future printed on top of one another: one active and one of illness. They pose the same question as TV, forcing the viewer to think and make a choice about their future.


Digital banners engaged and educated users while the hub for the campaign,, provided a personalized health experience with no two being the same. After a short risk assessment, the site would react to your personal results, suggesting goals, tips, risks, and info along with unique health analysis. And custom email streams support users for a long time to come. 

c) Media Discussion

To build consumer engagement, our media partner Mindshare enlisted the unique strengths of several broadcast vendors to fuse the brand values of HSF with their own content to provide a more meaningful interaction with the audience.


Three separate broadcast partners (2 English + 1 French) were enlisted to help connect Canadians emotionally to the Foundation by making the disease relatable. Behind the scenes all three broadcasters worked together as a combined consortium to leverage learning, production efficiencies and timelines to maximize cost savings for the client.


Consumer facing, each station leveraged their own programming and talent to personalize the message to their audience:


SHAW used their National powerhouse ET Canada and the power of celebrity to bring Heart & Stroke Foundation message to the masses. Both Cheryl Hickey and Rick Campanelli were featured in vignettes to present our alarming fact, and what they personally are doing to Make Health Last. Shaw also leveraged celebrity personalities from their specialty channels such as W, Food Network, and HGTV to create vignettes featuring their personal reasons for staying active and healthy to ensure a better future. A few of these celebrities also created personal messages for use on our video gallery online. Shaw also helped us engage their viewers in health behavior discussions on their social media properties, and drove traffic to


CBC developed a series of vignettes using station personalities to promote their personal commitment to ensure they stay healthy, longer. Arlene Dickenson, Adam Beach, and Ron James all generously donated their time and personal stories to the cause. CBC also created a Make Health Last station in Mississauga’s Sherway Gardens Mall in Mississauga, which throughout a weekend post-launch featured CBC personalities and mall patrons reacting on camera to our alarming fact, and discussing steps they would take moving forward to Make Health Last.


SRC also developed a series of online and television vignettes leveraging the station’s top personalities who encouraged French Canadians to Make Health Last.


Earned and owned media were the final major considerations in this campaign. Working with our Heart and Stroke partner agency, Environics, we also worked to generate earned media, establish credibility for the campaign with journalists and key media influencers, and drive social word-of-mouth. In partnership with teams within the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and at Environics, we also worked to ensure that all advertising and public relations messaging was integrated across all Heart and Stroke properties; ensuring that all available channels were working in concert to educate the public alike about their risk factors, and the steps they could take to mitigate against them.

a) Sales/Share Results

The results to date (assessed by online analytics and post-launch interim tracking by InSync) have far exceeded expectations despite limited budgets in paid media.


  • Exceeded brand awareness goal – 70% target / 72% achieved
  • Achieved relevancy increase goal at 33%
  • 86% felt the message to be important
  • 92% believability
  • 100,000+ online risk assessment tests conducted on campaign website vs. target of 70,000 to date – rather impressive for a 7 min test
  • Traffic to the site surpassed the total +20% after the first two months – by June 1, traffic had reached almost 500K


In addition to meeting or exceeding our objectives we also achieved the following:


  • 650 million impressions delivered in 17 weeks of multi-media
  • 59 million impressions delivered by earned media
  • 4.5 million impressions delivered by social media
  • Over 1 million views of the TV spot on YouTube
  • The Foundation has maintained its status as the #2 charity for emotional connection in Canada – tough giving a continued growth in competition!
  • 61% of Canadians have an improved impression of the Foundation
  • 60% of Boomers have hope they can change their future

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

There were no other marketing campaigns or efforts in market over the business period discussed that could have contributed to these amazing results. The causal link between advertising and results is both direct, and clear.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

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Distribution Changes:

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Unusual Promotional Activity:

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Other Potential Causes:

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