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This heartless PSA really hits the heart hard

This heartless PSA really hits the heart hard

Attention-getting, heartbreaking… that’s for sure. But is it too much pathos without a path forward? That was the question that came to mind after watching this PSA for the British Heart Foundation:

I have a son around that age, and this hit me where I live. But at the end of the spot, I felt too dejected to absorb the call-to-action. When I went back and looked at it again, I was let down. A plea for funding? I would have expected it to be a reminder to clean up my lifestyle!

There’s no arguing that this is very powerful creative. But I’m not sure how motivational it is to potential donors. The dad’s death seems like it was just bad luck here. There is no explanation of how this could have gone differently. Only a vague promise of research helping “the devastation.” The problem is, I felt too devastated to have any hope at all, in that moment.

I can’t help but compare this PSA to one of my favourite social marketing ads of all time, Embrace Life. That one pulled just as strongly at my paternal heartstrings, but it ended in a positive — and told me that all this potential tragedy is easily preventable.

Heart disease is more complicated than seatbelt use, but it also requires changes in attitude and lifestyle to make a difference. Research is the means to an end — for better prevention, treatment, and recovery. But I don’t feel that this new ad told that story effectively. It just scared me, then asked me for money.

Agency: DLKW Lowe

Source: Fast Co.

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more