Although it is little-discussed, heart failure affects over 90,000 Irish people. Equally alarmingly, just 7% of the population are able to identify its symptoms. 

Recognising the urgent need to raise awareness of heart failure, healthcare company Novartis had three clear aims: to encourage public discussion of the problem; to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis; and to educate as many people as possible about the actual symptoms of heart failure. 

A clear, positive and assertive theme ‘Stand Up To Heart Failure’ was targeted at those living with heart failure in addition to a wider audience of those at risk. Stand Up To Heart Failure’s message was simple: heart failure can be managed successfully if its symptoms are recognised and action taken in good time.  

To communicate this message effectively, the campaign had to reach out on an emotional as well as a rational level. Knowing this, we enlisted the help of someone Irish people recognise and hold in high regard: sports commentator Michael Lyster, a man with a very personal story to tell.


We took a collaborative approach to heart failure, with Novartis working together with three heart charities; the Irish Heart Foundation, Croí, and the Heartbeat Trust.

Under this united banner, a powerfully emotive video was created in which Michael Lyster told the story of his own experience of living with heart failure. Michael had a mini-stroke in 2013 and a cardiac arrest in 2016 which was documented extensively in Irish media, what was not reported on was Michael's underlying condition - heart failure. 

The video became the cornerstone of the campaign and was distributed using a mixture of earned, paid and social media.


  • The campaign reached almost 13 million people through traditional and online channels
  • The video reached over 719,000 people across all three social channels and gained a total of over 200,000 engagements
  • Ireland AM, Elaine and the Sunday Independent featured interviews with Michael Lyster. The campaign was covered by the Irish Examiner, Irish Mirror, Irish Sun, and The Last Word with Matt Cooper to name a few.