Heart and Stroke Foundation: Make Health Last

The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Make Health Last campaign, which began during Heart Month (February of this year), aims to address 5 lifestyle changes that can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The 5 changes include:


The targeted behaviours come out of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s 2013 Report on the Health of Canadians. I first came across this campaign on Reddit where its video advertisement (see below) was posted and had been upvoted over 8778 times by the reddit community. The video has been viewed more the half a million times on Youtube with less than 1 percent of voters giving it a ‘thumbs-down’. Positive responses have include: “Holy [expletive] that was effective”; and, “From the viewpoint of a 30 year old male, it is certainly effective in sparking a desire to live healthier. I’ve been off fast food for almost a week now!”

The video is meant to get Canadians thinking about the state of our own health asking what our last 10 years of life will look like showing 2 options on opposite ends of the spectrum: “Will you grow with vitality, or get old with disease?” “The average Canadian will spend their last 10 years in sickness. Change your future.”  This is based on research which shows a gap between how long Canadians live and how long they are in good health.  With heart disease and stroke up there in the leading causes of death for Canadians, the campaign aims to show Canadians that controllable behaviours can be adjusted to improve one’s quality of life.

Peoples’ reactions have been mixed with many claiming that the ad is “disturbing” as it discriminates against individuals who are already sick or who have uncontrollable factors that will lead them to ill health (e.g. genetic). While others sing it praise as being an effective way of motivating them to begin to look at how they can change their lives.

This campaign seems to be using parts of the Extended Parallel Process Model where the threat of disease or a life on the ‘sick’ end of the spectrum hopefully motivates Canadians to take necessary action for getting their health on track, the campaign also attempts to convince people that they have the self-efficacy to act (e.g. through the personalized tips of what one can do about their nutrition, physical exercise and other high-risk behaviours). As the campaign’s major strategy is the video advertisement focussed on awareness, there is the risk of efficacy being perceived as low and the target audience controlling their fear by ignoring the message. Both responses have been seen in the comment sections of Reddit, Youtube, and various Blogs.

Here is a question for us, how could a campaign of this nature achieve convincing the audience that they have the ability to make the changes that are being promoted?

Dominika K.


One response to “Heart and Stroke Foundation: Make Health Last”

  1. zarc42 says :

    Thanks for sharing that Dom! The video was incredibly powerful. – Sarah T

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