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Editor's Pick. BHF's 'Zebrafish' advert

Client: British Heart Foundation

Agency: Grey London

To celebrate its 50th anniversary the British Heart Foundation (BHF), working with Grey London and PHD, has launched its Mending Broken Hearts Appeal with an innovative integrated marketing campaign.  

The goal of the appeal is simple: to fund the research that could begin to literally ‘mend broken hearts’ in as little as 10 years’ time and save and improve the lives of millions within decades.

The TV campaign is based on the real story of Joanne Ward who suffers from heart failure, and her ‘hope’ for the future – the zebrafish. The first of the campaign’s two executions was filmed at the London Aquarium and shows a woman (played by actress Susie Emmett) looking in to a large tank at the zebrafish. She explains how zebrafish can already repair their own hearts, something we can’t do, and how with help from the BHF, they are her hope for the future.

The star of the second advert is a digitally animated talking zebrafish who explains how he can help people like Joanne and the BHF ‘mend broken hearts’. Both of the adverts close with a call to action for the audience to contact the BHF to find out more and to request an Appeal pack.

The ads are voiced by British actor Andy Serkis, well known for his role as Gollum in Lord of the Rings and, more recently, playing Ian Dury in Sexanddrugsandrockandroll.

Nick Radmore, Head of Social Marketing and Brand at the BHF said: “The idea was to bring the science to life by using a talking zebrafish as a spokes’fish’ for the campaign. The zebrafish helps people understand how complex regenerative medicine could bring hope to millions of people in the UK.

“Joanne worked closely with us to develop the scripts for the advert which deliver a powerful account of what she has experienced and how we can help people like her.”  

The campaign is fully integrated across offline and online channels. The two 40 second adverts will be broadcast throughout February and will be supported by bookends in national press, digital advertising, PR and social media channels.

The creative has also been embedded within the MBH Appeal pack and the BHF’s website. Zebrafish will take over the homepage, swimming around to draw visitor’s attention. There will also be campaign hub housing information about the Appeal and how people can get involved.

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