Heart foundation advert criticised for being too insensitive towards victims of heart disease and grieving families

A new advert for Heart Foundation in Australia has been heavily criticised for being too insensitive.

The clip features a scene where a mum puts her child to bed and says: ‘Every time I told you I loved you I was lying — you are not my priority.’

Other scenes include a man washing the dishes and saying to his wife:‘I promised you my heart and I’ve given it away’; and a woman saying to her young child: ‘Because it’s not just my heart that I don’t care about, it’s yours’

It was shared on social media, alongside the following message: ‘Heart disease doesn’t just affect you. It also devastates your loved ones. Look after your heart and theirs. Visit your GP for a Heart Health Check today.’

While the aim of the shocking advert was to make more people aware of heart disease and what they should do to prevent it, many have criticised the foundation for how they handled the topic.

A man whose wife died after a sudden heart attack wrote: ‘I don’t want our son watching or hearing this type of rubbish advertising. His mother loved him very much and this insensitive vile is a disgrace to your organisation.’

A mum whose partner also died because of heart disease commented: ‘As a parent of children whose father died due to undiagnosed heart disease (an otherwise healthy 41 year old man who looked after himself) this add makes me ill! You’ve just caused a lot of heartache for grieving families. Completely missed the mark. Such poor form.’

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A third also wrote: ‘I get the intent but the execution is breathtakingly offensive.’

A fourth added: ‘This is appalling and distressing to those of us who have lost loved ones to heart conditions. Do better.’

Following the criticism, Heart Foundation’s CEO John Kelly admitted the campaign was ‘shocking and confronting’, but that it was necessary to tackle heart disease.

‘Some people will take offence and we apologise for that. But the level of complacency requires us to have this conversation’, he told ABC Radio Melbourne, before adding that the campaign was designed to encourage people to have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked and risk factors assessed.