The Advertising Apprentice

December 15, 2011

The Heart & Stroke Foundation Wants You to Make Death Wait

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 1:49 PM

Leading up to, and throughout, the holiday season, I’ve noticed two different campaigns from an organization very near and dear to my heart, pun intended; the Heart & Stroke Foundation (HSF). The headline for today’s entry is the bold and attention-grabbing tagline being used in spots for one of their new campaigns:


As a quick side before I get further into this discussion, while studying advertising in Sudbury, I volunteered with the HSF.  It was nothing short of a very rewarding experience and I highly recommend everyone to get involved in your community and give back.

But with that being said, in this case, my position on these campaigns is not biased because the advertising speaks for itself. The two commercials above are extremely well done. I think the HSF and their ad agency absolutely made the right call in producing two targeted spots; one aimed at men and the other aimed at women. The uncommon and almost eery narration from the perspective of death added an element to the spots that enhanced their effect. And this is ultimately why their tagline, Make Death Wait, despite being simple is so strong and very effective in terms of being memorable. At the end of each spot there was a call-to-action that directs people to the HSF’s website to donate, but I can’t help but think that raising funds was a secondary objective for this campaign; the primary objective being to increase awareness of heart disease and stroke.

The other HSF campaign I’ve seen a lot lately has been in promotion of their Heart & Stroke Calendar Lottery. Their ad buy must have significant because for what it seems like the last two months, anytime I’ve turned on the TV; I’ve seen a spot for this campaign. These types of lottery promotions from not-for-profits is not uncommon, the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and Princess Margaret Lottery are just two examples of organizations you’ll see similar promotions from during certain parts of the year.

The difference between the two campaigns is that the Make Death Wait campaign is, in my opinion, about increasing awareness while the calendar lottery’s primary objective is to raise funds for the HSF. But what I feel is unique is the timing: the constant exposure to these spots helped remind us about the HSF and create that name/brand recognition leading up to the launch of the powerful and arguably more important Make Death Wait campaign.



  1. These ads are disgusting. They prey on the natural human fear of sudden death. I find them horrifying, disturbing, fear mongering garbage. I used to donate to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, but I will not be any more if garbage ads like this continue to eat up countless advertising dollars.

    Comment by Kathy — December 28, 2011 @ 7:54 PM | Reply

    • I’m sorry you feel that way Kathy. In the very cluttered advertising landscape, you have to use unconventional ways to get noticed. The Heart and Stroke Foundation evidently felt this was the best way to attract attention.

      Comment by adamlauzon — January 3, 2012 @ 10:12 AM | Reply

  2. I agree Kathy. I think they are extremely low brow and also prey on women’s fear of stalkers/rapists/killers.

    Comment by Christine — January 23, 2012 @ 1:54 AM | Reply

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