Heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, has an increasing prominence in ad campaigns as companies appeal to health conscious Baby Boomers with everything from aspirin and prescription medications to exercise equipment as ways to help prevent or treat cardiovascular problems. Emory Healthcare Marketing is launching a new ad campaign in February, continuing through March, that dramatically puts a new spin on this heart disease message.
Print, direct mail, 30 and 60 second radio ads and 30 second cable TV spots are zeroing in on the fact that seeking immediate medical help for a heart attack is crucial -- but where a person goes for help can be the most critical, lifesaving choice of all.
"Numerous studies have shown that treatment of serious heart attacks with angioplasty (a procedure in which a catheter uses a tiny balloon to open narrowed or blocked coronary arteries) is preferable to thrombolytic therapy with so-called clot buster drugs. And the only hospital in DeKalb County that offers angioplasty is Emory University Hospital (EUH)," says Una Hutton Newman, Senior Director of Emory Healthcare Marketing and creator of the ad campaign.
"We are getting the word out that people need to think about where they should go for treatment if they - or a loved one - have symptoms of a heart attack. It's not enough to just get to any hospital. Research shows that even if you have to go a little farther, you are better off with angioplasty in the long run. In fact, the relative death rate among patients treated with angioplasty is 60% lower than the death rate among similar patients treated at a hospital that can only offer 'clot buster' therapy," Newman adds. "Another selling point is that Emory Heart Center was one of the primary places where angioplasty was developed - so patients treated at EUH and Emory Crawford Long Hospital (ECLH) are treated by physicians in one of the leading angioplasty centers in the world."
When Newman and producer Rudy Fernandez of Atlanta-based Fernandez Creative needed to come up with a concept for the cable TV spot targeted to DeKalb County audiences, they were faced with several challenges. How could they graphically depict a heart attack in an advertisement without the clichéd image of someone grabbing his or her chest and falling to the ground? And how could a television commercial illustrate what's happening inside the body during a heart attack , get across the concept of how angioplasty works to treat a heart attack and why it's important to get to a medical center that offers that therapy if someone having "the big one" - all on a limited budget ?
The solution? Fernandez created an ad that uses software called "After Effects" to animate briskly moving red lines and the words " blood flows to the heart and back" , simulating blood flowing through arteries until it's stopped by a heart attack-causing clot.
When the blood is blocked, the only letters that get through spell "heart attack". The image then shows angioplasty opening up the artery and restoring the blood flow (illustrated with red letters spelling, once again, "blood flows to the heart and back"), while a voice-over explains the importance of the procedure and how EUH is the only medical center in DeKalb offering this scientifically proven superior heart attack therapy.
Spin Productions of Atlanta provided the vivid red and white animation.
The cable TV spot is targeted to almost 130,000 cable TV households in DeKalb, supported by direct mail efforts in the county. Accompanying radio spots are aimed primarily at insured women over 45 in a broader geographic area of metro Atlanta. The print campaign covers Midtown, Druid Hills, Virginia Highlands and other communities within a 10 mile radius of EUH and ECLH.