Thinkboxes August 2008 Winner: The British Heart Foundation ‘Heart Attack’ by Grey

When the British Heart Foundation (BHF) revealed that it was running a solus ad break to warn viewers about the symptoms of a heart attack, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

But the brave strategy paid off; the two-minute ‘Watch your own heart attack’, which ran at 9.17pm on Sunday 10 August during the ITV1 drama Midsomer Murders, reached 6.5m viewers.

The one-off ad, starring the actor Steven Berkoff, was designed to help viewers recognise the early symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain and nausea, so that they can react quickly and prevent the many needless deaths that currently occur.

Berkoff powerfully played out the symptoms with drama and medical accuracy. The campaign, conceived and created by Grey London, also included billboards, press and washroom ads, as well as online activity, up to its screening.

We are all familiar with the classic Hollywood heart attack, where you clutch your chest, fall over and die, but there are a range of symptoms and identifying these early is critical.

‘We wanted to create a TV event. We have already had letters from people who said they saw the ad and it saved their life. We couldn’t wish for better than that.’

David Barker, Head of Communication at the British Heart Foundation

The Thinkbox Academy judges chose the ad as August’s winner ahead of Land Rover’s ‘Location scout’ and ‘History of communication’ from Carphone Warehouse. 

Agency Grey London; Director Brett Foraker; Creative Jon Williams, Joanna Perry, Damon Troth; Prod Co RSA

Land Rover- Location Scout (2nd)

  • Agency RKCR/Y&R 
  • Director Stacey Wall 
  • Creative Mark Roalfe
  • Prod Co Epoch Films 

Carphone Warehouse- History of communication (3rd)

  • Agency CHI&Partners 
  • Director Kristofer Strom

Also shortlisted 

  • COI/ National Year of Reading- Consequences
  • KFC- Today starts here
  • Lilt- Parrot
  • National Express- Miniature prices
  • Specsavers- Sandpit
  • The Carphone Warehouse- A Brief history of communications & X Factor Idents
  • The Natural Confectionery Company- Contemplative sweets

Click here to see who won the previous award

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