Brand Positioning

Fighting the Ladykiller

With the Women's Heart Alliance


01 / Background

In the fall of 2013, GMMB joined Barbra Streisand, Ronald O. Perelman, and two of America’s leading medical institutions—the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center—in the fight against women’s heart disease.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, killing more women than men and more women than all cancers combined. Yet 45 percent of women don’t know it’s the biggest threat to their health. And worse, there is a grave gender disparity in the research and treatment of heart disease. Women’s hearts are different than men’s, but for the past 50 years women’s hearts have been treated based on medical research conducted on men. While progress has been made over the last 20 years, for too many women it’s not enough. Despite public education campaigns that have steadily moved the needle on awareness, women’s hearts are under-researched, often misdiagnosed, and are going untreated.

2013 - 2014
Digital / Public Relations / Advertising / Creative Content / Movement Building

02 / Strategy

The co-founders and their medical experts came to GMMB determined to break the mold. Their goal: create a breakthrough campaign that goes beyond awareness to move women, doctors, and the government to action; and spur new research to fight women’s heart disease. To achieve this goal, GMMB guided development of the Women’s Heart Alliance and conceived and executed its first campaign, Fight the Ladykiller.


03 / Work

Research guided every step of our work—from positioning and creative concepts to message development and digital strategy. A GMMB-led landscape analysis revealed how this new effort could complement and advance the work of existing campaigns while also pushing the envelope and breaking new ground. We spoke with women of different ages to understand their perceptions as daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends; with men to understand their role as influencers and advocates for the women they love; and with primary care physicians and cardiologists to understand where heart disease falls among their concerns.

Our research revealed three striking facts: (1) women are not personalizing their risk; (2) many believe they’re getting the right screenings, but there is a lot to know, and the connection between the numbers and their heart health is unclear; and (3) shame and self-blame associated with heart disease make it difficult for women to feel empowered to act.

Our creative approach addresses these challenges by positioning heart disease as the villain it is, and uniting women to Fight the Ladykiller. Arresting creative brings the villain to life, and it breaks through with images and stories that force you to stop and look. And with a new phrase and rallying cry — #getHeartChecked — the campaign gives women a single, meaningful action they can take, and a new way to start a conversation with their health care providers.


04 / Results

The Fight the Ladykiller brand and the #getHeartChecked call to action were the basis for all campaign materials, including teaser ads, a PSA starring Academy and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, posters featuring stories of real women, a campaign website, infographics, and fact-based social media graphics.

Over the course of one week, Fight the Ladykiller was featured on The Meredith Vieira Show, The Dr. Oz Show, NPR Here & Now, CBS News, Katie Couric on Yahoo! and in eight Hearst magazine publications and numerous other local, regional, and national print, online and broadcast publications, resulting in over 150 million earned and social media impressions.

The Women’s Heart Alliance continues to utilize the campaign strategy, messaging, and creative assets GMMB developed to fight the ladykiller.