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See The Shock And Awe Of Heart Disease In This Traumatic New PSA Campaign

Any marketer will tell you that it takes a lot to get people to sit up and pay attention. Public service announcements have the added challenge of creating engaging content around unsexy or unwelcome messages, namely death, disease, injury, or general irresponsibility. Sometimes the best tactic is to go for some good ol’ fashioned shock. Over recent years it’s been used for reckless driving, web privacy, intoxicated driving, and more.

Now the British Heart Foundation and agency DLKW Lowe are using the device to clue us in on the unforgiving nature of heart disease with ads that illustrate the often cruelly abrupt way it can affect our lives. In the first spot, a young boy gets an unexpected visit from his dad in school only to discover all is not as it seems. Two other ads use a found footage approach–a Skype call, and a dog enthusiast YouTuber–to really bring home the idea that things can change very, very quickly.

The fourth spot ditches the shock and awe in favor of talking to survivors of heart failure for a somber reminder that one in four people who get heart disease don’t survive.

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