The Heart of Humorous Marketing

Sometimes the most effective way for a brand to deliver its message is through humor. That is what the American Heart Association (AHA) accomplished (to great success) in a short film on its site about women and heart attacks.

The film, which stars Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks (who also directs the piece), is part of the AHA’s Go Red for Women campaign to spread the message about women’s heart health. It depicts a working mother and housewife suffering a heart attack as she frantically tries to get her two children ready for school in the morning. The woman continues to try to complete her duties even as she experiences the classic signs of heart attack — shortness of breath, tightness in her chest, jaw pain and other symptoms. Finally, her young son, who observes her with concern throughout the movie, informs her of the obvious: she is having a heart attack.

What makes this film so effective is that this scenario and character played by Elizabeth Banks are so relatable. We know this person (it even might be you) who tries so hard to be everything to everyone and won’t let her needs stand in the way. Her comedic delivery — apologizing to the paramedics when she calls and worrying about the state of her kitchen when they arrive — makes us laugh even as we worry about her.

This film is a great vehicle for the AHA to convey the importance of heart health to women (who often don’t realize that heart disease is their No. 1 killer). The AHA as a brand is seen as the key source of heart attack and stroke information — and offers a wealth of information on its website with detailed explanations; diagrams; and catchy messages, such as F.A.S.T, a stroke symptom acronym that stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to call 911. This is yet another tool to hit home the message this February, Heart Health Month: Women, heart attacks can happen to you, too.