Cannes Lions


LOWE & PARTNERS, Johannesburg / UNILEVER / 2009

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We believed the best way to raise awareness about heart disease was to make people experience the realties of heart disease first hand through someone they’ve gotten to know and love. Enter Wally, our chosen candidate, a person who hadn’t made the best health choices in life and now was faced with a heart condition. Viewers across the country were brought closer to Wally through a popular TV talk show which ran every night for a week. Empathy with Wally and his family grew as viewers got to know them on a personal level over that week. It was also effective in providing people with useful information about heart disease and healthy lifestyle choices due to its long format nature. The talk show ran with ‘Meet Wally’s Heart’ during their National Heart Week special. It was a perfect match since the show’s greater content was focused on heart disease awareness during Heart Week.One week after getting to know Wally on a personal level we made history by broadcasting his open-heart surgery; live for the SA public, so that they could see for themselves that heart disease has serious consequences.The campaign was heavily endorsed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa which added much credibility to the initiative.Meanwhile, Flora worked behind the scenes, strategically delivered their healthy lifestyle message through TV ads placed during the popular talk show that featured ‘Meet Wally’s Heart’ as well as during the final live heart surgery. Flora also made use of tactical placements in shopping malls as well as a strong presence on all ‘Wally’ media executions that included newspaper inserts that fed off the media/PR hype around the show. The story could also be followed online on the ‘Meet Wally’s Heart’ website which had a strong Flora presence and was also directly linked to the Flora ‘Love your heart’ website. Well wishes from the public could be posted directly to Wally on the sight and blogs kept the momentum of the campaign going between shows.


In just 1 week ‘Meet Wally’s Heart’ received 48 000 web hits, 42 separate blog discussions, 58 newspaper articles, mention by 20 DJs on 6 different national radio stations and a 158% increase in viewership in the time slot that Wally’s operation aired. In total R75 million of free publicity was generated with 5 million South Africans being exposed to the severity of heart disease as well as the Flora’s message of ‘Change your life. Love your heart.’ Key Individual’s views with regards to the campaign: “This was truly a unique and game-changing idea. One that has re-set the communication standards; not only in South Africa but across our global business too. The results of which have been most favourable to Flora but more importantly to heart health awareness.” Mick Van Ettinger, Vice President SCC & Dressings for Asia AMET, Unilever South Africa “The Meet Wally’s Heart campaign was a tremendous success for raising wareness of heart disease and The Heart and Stroke Foundation of SA. It took the country by storm, receiving more coverage than we imagined it would. It shows just how original the idea was - a world first after all. We are very proud and pleased to have been a part of Wally’s brave journey. It is by far and away the most unconventional and successful programme we have been involved with.” Robert de Souza, CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa.

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