A New Ad Warns that Women And Men Are Equals In This One Deadly Way

Heart disease is often thought of as a condition that primarily affects men, when in fact, one in three women die of heart disease and stroke. To reach women about this frightening reality, the American Heart Association, the Ad Council, and agency Deutsch New York have launched the “It’s Your Cause” campaign for their Go Red For Women initiative.

The main spot is an eye-catching, effects-driven number that features a woman who travels through time, starting at the turn of the century and passing through various moments of women’s empowerment and achievement. (In each case, she literally busts through the ceiling.)

But the ad isn’t really about empowering women to seize the welding torch, or the vote, or the seat at the front of the board room. It’s about encouraging women to take the risks of heart disease seriously. Of all the things women can do well, “there’s one thing we’re even better at” says the spot’s protagonist. In the next shot, she’s lying on the office floor, her hand pressed to her chest. The message is clear: women can do all the things men can, including die from heart disease. While stopping heart disease is about living a healthy lifestyle, not smashing the glass ceiling, the campaign harnesses an ongoing cultural debate about the status of women. Leaning in is great, the ad suggests, but make sure it doesn’t end with you clutching your chest and falling to the floor.