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About The Heart Truth
About The Heart Truth

The Heart Truth®: Using the Power of Branding and Social Marketing to Increase Awareness of Heart Disease in Women

BY TERRY LONG, ANN M. TAUBENHEIM, JENNIFER WAYMAN, SARAH TEMPLE, AND BETH ANN RUOFF

Abstract

In September 2002, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute launched The Heart Truth®, the first federally sponsored national campaign aimed at increasing awareness among women about their risk of heart disease. A traditional social marketing approach, including an extensive formative research phase, was used to plan, implement, and evaluate the campaign. With the creation of the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, the campaign integrated a branding strategy into its social marketing framework. The aim was to develop and promote a women's heart disease brand that would create a strong emotional connection with women. The Red Dress® brand has had a powerful appeal to a wide diversity of women and has given momentum to the campaign's three-part implementation strategy of partnership development, media relations, and community action. In addition to generating its own substantial programming, The Heart Truth became a catalyst for a host of other national and local educational initiatives, both large and small. By the campaign's fifth anniversary, surveys showed that women were increasingly aware of heart disease as their leading cause of death and that the rise in awareness was associated with increased action to reduce heart disease risk.

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Last Updated: February 29, 2012

The Heart Truth®, its logo, The Red Dress®, and Red Dress® are registered trademarks of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  National Wear Red Day® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and American Heart Association.