Heart Foundation comes under fire

 In Faith Thinking

I must confess to having some sympathy for the Heart Foundation and the recent media storm created by their 30 second tvc, which was withdrawn in late May after pressure from donors and other health groups.  The NFP market is clearly overcrowded and trying to get your message out there in a meaningful way isn’t easy but I don’t think anyone expected the backlash that resulted from their thought provoking campaign.  As an agency that has a deep involvement with NFP causes you are often faced with presenting the case for supporting funding into research and potential cures into some very numbing and deadly diseases.  With over 60000 NFP’s in Australia creating creative cut through is a very difficult challenge.  Often the options come back to using statistics and  fear as  key drivers.

Tim Costello, in stepping down from his CEO role at World Vision, made mention of the fact that mainstream Australia could not digest the number of needy causes requiring support in Australia.

The balancing act comes down to a ‘feel good’ emotion for helping a cause or those less fortunate and hitting people in the face with cold hard reality.  Cold hard facts are not readily accepted so we often compromise and this leads to a watering down of the message.

The Heart foundation ad was deeply disturbing and challenging.  Its message that if you loved your family and friends and were faced with the prospect of heart disease, you should do something about it,  was very powerful.  Balancing community expectations, making donors feel good about giving money is what it’s all about, and the communication was sadly too confronting.  It seems that in today’s market place you have to give hope and not use fear in a way that confronts, shocks us and makes us feel inhuman. The challenge with so many needy charities is how do you best attract the most attention to your cause and elicit the fundraising response they so desperately need.

(Apologies, we weren’t able to extract the TVC without the ad preview).

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