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Deep Dives

How news brands outed Australia’s worst serial killer

The challenge

Heart Foundation research shows only half of the Australian population perceives heart attack to be relevant to them, even though nine in 10 people have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Worryingly, more than a quarter of those who have clinical risk factors for heart disease thought a heart attack was irrelevant to them with only 3% of Australians saying they would focus on lowering their blood pressure or cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease, the two of the biggest risk factors associated with a heart attack.


The objectives

The Heart Foundation needed to put heart disease back on the agenda for everyday Australians and the health industry. It needed to do this by applying pressure to the Australian Government to introduce Medicare-funded Heart Health Checks and encouraging Australians to understand their risk of heart disease and learn how to reduce the risk. 

The execution

News Corp worked with the Heart Foundation and creative agency Host/Havas Australia to leverage Australia’s fascination with true crime. The campaign highlighted the ‘criminal’ behind Australia’s biggest killer, heart disease, and urged the Government and community to “show some ticker” against this serial killer.

The campaign had a two-fold approach, the first was a bold creative concept called ‘Serial Killer’ that led an advocacy and editorial initiative ‘Show some ticker’ #showsometicker. 

On February 10, the Sunday metro papers warned that Australia’s worst serial killer would be named the following Sunday. On February 17, it was revealed that the ‘criminal’ behind was, in fact, heart disease. The reveal included high-impact Sunday metro newspapers wraps and digital sites with copy revealing how heart disease had touched the lives of everyday Australians.

The campaign encouraged Australians to understand their risk of heart disease by going online to use the Heart Foundation’s newly launched Heart Age Calculator.

The results

The campaign quickly won Government support and raised vital awareness of heart disease risk via the Heart Age Calculator.

In addition to the 120,000 Heart Age Calculator completes in the first two days, and 150,000 completes by the end of the first week, more than 330,000 total Heart Age Calculators sessions were completed by the end of March. This was equivalent to 28% of the high-risk target audience.

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