Heart failure affects more than 90,000 people in Ireland. People tend to live with the symptoms (fatigue, swollen ankles and shortness of breath) for a long time, ignoring them until they can't put off a doctor's visit any longer. The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) and Novartis have collaborated in the past to increase awareness and understanding of heart failure.  

In 2019, IHF and Novartis applied learnings from previous campaigns in order to continue to increase awareness of the symptoms, building in tangible actions to ensure audience engagement in order to move the dial on heart failure. 

Dependent on our audience's place on the heart failure spectrum, the objectives were: 

  • for those at risk/undiagnosed to seek early intervention,  

  • and for those already diagnosed to be more proactive in their approach to managing the condition. 

For Edelman, the ask was clear - Make heart failure impossible to ignore. 

We worked with a research agency to ascertain people’s understanding of the condition and knowledge of its warning signs. As suspected, confusion about heart failure was rife: 

  • 43% incorrectly confused the condition with a cardiac arrest, believing that heart failure means that the heart stops or shuts down.  

  • 61% were unaware that swollen ankles are one of the key warning signs.  

  • 34% did not identify fatigue as a symptom. 

This knowledge, that people were very confused about the symptoms and that there was a lack of understanding of what heart failure meant, was central to developing our campaign messaging to target the undiagnosed audience. 


Don’t Ignore the Signs of Heart Failure; Shortness of breath, swollen ankles and fatigue are warning signs of heart failure that should never be ignored – if these symptoms sound familiar, the Irish Heart Foundation has developed a free online symptom checker to help identify if you are experiencing heart failure symptoms.  

For those already diagnosed with heart failure: The action switched to encourage people to attend their local heart failure event and hear from heart failure ambassador, former Sunday Game presenter Michael Lyster. 


The campaign call to action was two-fold – for the undiagnosed take the online symptom checker and bring the results to the GP, or if already diagnosed with heart failure to attend one of the regional information events.

Our approach was fully integrated with earned media, paid media and social media elements used strategically to reach both audience skews.

Our integrated execution involved three activation strands: Earned, with a focus on telling Michael's story, supported by healthcare professionals to ensure all content was educational. Digital, centred on an emotive piece of content starring Michael and his wife Anne to emphasise the Importance of recognising the symptoms of heart failure and not ignoring the warning signs. And finally, Paid. We paid to play where we knew our audience was, always with an emphasis on the two actions (website visits and event attendance).

All three strands utilised Michael Lyster at their core, with the actions highlighted at every opportunity to promote engagement with the correct audience. 


The client was delighted with the campaign results, with all set KPIs exceeded. In particular the downloads of the symptom tracker imply an intention to take them to discuss with their doctor resulting in a potential early clinical intervention, which is a huge achievement and one we are very proud of.

  • Digital Display Advertising Phase 1: Unique Reach: 446,128 | Impressions: 1,338,384 | Frequency: 3
  • Earned reach: 3,854,4589
  • Print / Broadcast Paid reach: 2,161,572 
  • Digital Content: 22,880 click throughs on content through to the symptom checker and registration for events
  • Attendance at Six Events: Set KPI: 725 attendees | Actual: 900 attendees
  • Interactions with Symptom Checker: Set KPI: 5,000 | Actual: 17,112 |
  • Downloads of Symptom Checker Results: Set KPI: 1,500 | Actual: 7,262