Back in 2002, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, recognized that raising public awareness of heart disease as the #1 killer of women was critical to reducing its impact on women’s health. The NHLBI charged Ogilvy with ensuring that their messages about heart disease would be heard by women around the country.
Today, The Heart Truth campaign continues to unite community groups, corporations, media outlets, and individuals alike encouraging women to protect their hearts. We created and introduced The Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness nearly a decade ago to remind women of their #1 killer and take action against it. Each February since its launch, The Red Dress has come to life on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
This year’s Red Dress Collection Fashion Show, held on February 9, 2011, was breathtaking. 22 celebrities walked the runway—including Patti LaBelle, Suzanne Somers, Gayle King, Ann Curry, and Natasha Bedingfield—in stunning red gowns crafted by top designers—including Zac Posen, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, Catherine Malandrino, and Carmen Marc Valvo—to warn women of their #1 health threat.
Every year, we garner hundreds of millions of media impressions and generate stories that impact the lives of women around the country—helping them to live heart healthy lifestyles. But this year, more than ever before, our celebrity participants used social media to reach their female followers and fans about The Heart Truth and the meaning behind The Red Dress. Imagine…a symbol that not only helps women recognize the importance of their inner health, but additionally empowers women to reach other women with the messaging.
I want to share just a few examples of the celebrity social media that dominated online conversation about women’s heart health in February. Here is a tweet by Alison Sweeney:
A tweet by Eve encouraging her followers to protect their hearts:
A tweet by Eva Amurri starting a conversation about heart disease in women on Twitter:
And another tweet by Giuliana Rancic proclaiming how important heart health is:
The above tweets make up just a small sampling of celebrity-created social media for The Heart Truth. We had Facebook posts promoting the show and raising awareness about the issue by Alison Sweeney, Suzanne Somers, Dita Von Teese, Julianne Hough, Cat Deeley, and even Laura Bush. We had full blog entries by celebrities like Dita Von Teese, Audrina Patridge, and Julianne Hough. And in addition to the tweets that are posted above, we had additional tweets written and posted by Dania Ramirez, Denise Richards, Audrina Patridge, Dita Von Teese, Julianne Hough, Katrina Bowden, and Patti LaBelle. These women, who largely have female audiences, exponentially spread our messages with their fan bases, reaching women that we may not have every reached without them, perhaps saving lives.
Working on this campaign over the past three years has given me so much. I work with the celebrities, and to my pleasant surprise, our participants are always very much appreciative of the campaign, and as women, they want to warn others to protect themselves against heart disease. Heart disease is largely preventable, and we fully appreciate the women-to-women social media efforts of our participants (who participate pro-bono by the way). Coupled with other efforts of The Heart Truth campaign for American Heart Month, I believe that the increased celebrity engagement in social media contributed to a stronger Red Dress brand. This year has been a great year so far. As a woman…reaching other women reading this blog…I hope you take away the power of women-to-women messaging. And on a campaign note, please take care of your hearts.