Chris Taylor resigns from CMO role at the Heart Foundation

Chris Taylor is stepping down from the chief marketing officer position at the Heart Foundation after almost three years.

Taylor was the first CMO at the organisation and was tasked with establishing a marketing, brand and digital strategy following nine separate entities coming together to form the Heart Foundation as it known today.

Taylor is leaving the Heart Foundation after three years

His role included responsibilities in direct revenue-raising, corporate partnerships, digital, data insights, media and corporate communications. He was also responsible for forming a new marketing team.

Taylor is leaving the Heart Foundation to take up several opportunities in his previous realm of financial services, payments and fintech industries. Prior to The Heart Foundation he was at Woolworths’ digital and e-commerce division, WooliesX, and at payment platforms Visa and MasterCard. Further details are to be announced in the coming weeks.

Taylor said 2020 had been a time of reflection and that his departure is driven by a need to move on to a new challenge.

“I am sorry to leave behind one of the best marketing teams in the country whose passion, dedication and experience have led us to achieve some amazing results. Not only did we support each other as a team, but we were able to have fun along the way,” he said.

“I leave behind some lifelong professional and personal relationships and couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them. But for me, like for most of us, 2020 has been a time of true reflection, and I am ready for the next challenge in life and my career.”

Under Taylor’s tenure, the Heart Foundation made a name for itself with its ‘Serial Killer’ campaign, which launched across the covers of News Corp print titles alluding to a story about ‘Australia’s worst serial killer’. The ad leveraged growing fascination with the true crime genre of media and spoke to a ‘criminal’ that caused 51 deaths per day, however it was revealed that the true killer was heart disease.

Serial Killer was followed up by the controversial ‘Heartless Words’ campaign, which led with a film featuring people telling family members they no longer cared for them, their feelings or their hearts. The ad opened with a mother telling her son “every time I said I loved you, I was lying”.

The film drew a link between getting a heart health check and caring for ones family. The campaign immediately received widespread criticism for treating families who have lost loved ones to heart disease insensitively. In response the Heart Foundation pulled the campaign film the following day and cancelled the entire campaign later in the week.

Speaking at Mumbrella360 last year, Taylor described the week of the Heartless Words campaign as one of the most challenging in his career.

“…We’ve got a lot of feedback particularly from people who have lost someone, that they found the ad incredibly challenging, and a lot of that feedback came through social media. And through the week we had obviously defended the ad – the purpose and the intention of the ad was to do good – but also acknowledged that it may have hurt people along the way,” he said last year.

“And for that, we are profusely sorry. That was never the intention. The intention was to cut through.”

Following the controversy of Heartless Words, the Heart Foundation returned to the familiar, promoting a story with News Corp about a victim who ‘walked away from a killer’ and highlighted the benefits of taking preemptive steps such as walking to fend off heart disease.

This year, the Heart Foundation brought on Greg Page, known as the Yellow Wiggle, to tell his story about collapsing at a Wiggles show due to cardiac arrest for its Hand on Heart campaign.

The organisation has also partnered with Coles to introduce health hubs into its stores which would provide information, recipes, and tips on nutrition, exercise, health, and wellbeing.

Under Taylor’s leadership, the Heart Foundation has received a number of accolades for its marketing, including being recognised as one of the World’s Most Effective Brands in the 2020 Global Effie Index.

Heart Foundation Group CEO, adjunct professor John Kelly, reflected upon Taylor’s contribution to the organisation.

“We were incredibly fortunate to have Chris join us and play such an important transitional role at the Heart Foundation during an extensive period of organisational change. Chris’ enthusiasm, professionalism and strategic thinking helped us to focus and develop impactful outcomes that helped move us closer to achieving our vision of an Australia free of heart disease,” Kelly said.

“Chris was a critical hire as our first CMO. He leaves a true legacy behind at the organisation with our activities much more effective as a result of his tenure. We are very sorry to see Chris go but understand that, for him, the time was right.”

Mumbrella has requested comment on the search for Taylor’s replacement.


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