Heart Foundation pulls ‘Heartless Words’ campaign

The Heart Foundation has backed down on its controversial ‘Heartless Words’ campaign, pulling the advert from rotation and issuing an apology.

The divisive campaign featured a mother telling her child “every time I told you I loved you I was lying”.

The campaign debuted on Monday night and immediately attracted criticism from the public over the implication that those who suffer from heart disease do not care about their families. On Tuesday the Heart Foundation pulled the 60-second TVC from YouTube.

Chairman Chris Leptos offered an apology on behalf of the Heart Foundation: “To all the people who have been offended by our campaign, we apologise, and to all those who
provided their feedback, we have listened.

“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.”

Chris Taylor, CMO of the Heart Foundation, told Mumbrella that pulling the campaign was disappointing but he understood the need to do so.

“It is disappointing, because we genuinely believed in what we were doing and the critical need to cut through to people,” Taylor said.

“While many people do not like the approach we took, I hope they understand why we did it: our only intention is to save lives and reduce the suffering caused by heart disease. Heart disease is largely preventable, but it still kills more Australians every year than any other single disease and it has done for fifty years.

“There is a huge amount of complacency when it comes to our heart health and because of this, we chose to take a risk. We concede that on this occasion that risk has overstepped the mark, and we apologise.”

Taylor also told Mumbrella that there will be a new campaign for the Heart Foundation coming soon.

Mumbrella has reached out to Host/Havas for comment.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.