Meet Wally’s Heart

Unilever collaborated with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa to sponsor “Meet Wally’s Heart“, an integrated campaign surrounding the live broadcast of open heart surgery on public TV channel SABC3. Lowe Hunt Gauteng worked with Gauteng cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Martin Sussman and and cardiologist Dr Graham Cassel over six months, preparing to broadcast a live heart surgery operation, to raise awareness of heart disease and the need for a healthy lifestyle and diet including Flora Proactive Margarine online test, “How Young Is Your Heart?”. The campaign was given a Yellow Pencil for Integrated at the D&AD Awards held in London this last week.

Header from Meet Wally's Heart web site

Wally (Waldemar) Katzke, aged 52, was found only days before the planned broadcast. He agreed to talk about his condition live on the popular SABC 3 talk show hosted by Noeleen Maholwana Sangqu every night from 28th July to 1st August, and have his single heart bypass operation broadcast in a special 2 hour live broadcast between 8 and 10 pm on Saturday 2 August, 2008.

A heavy smoker who led a sedentary lifestyle, Katzke had suffered a mild heart attack in 1999 and had a stent inserted at the age of 44 to enable his clogged arteries to pump blood and oxygen more efficiently. But Katzke’s continued poor lifestyle, which included skipping breakfast and lunch, consuming too much red meat and too little fruit and vegetables, doing virtually no physical exercise, smoking heavily and succumbing to work stress, meant that a continued buildup of fatty deposits in his coronary arteries made him a prime candidate for a more serious second attack.

For the majority of the broadcast, viewers were able to see Katzke’s surgery via a live video inset in the corner of their television screens, while a panel of experts discussed cardiovascular health in layman’s terms within the custom studio environment close to the operating theatre.

Dr Sussman also wore a pencil camera on his head during the operation, providing viewers with a bird’s eye view of the surgery at various times. The programme crossed over to the theatre regularly to check in on the progress of the surgery and to view key moments in the operation.

Meet Wally's Heart - Love Your Heart web site

See the surgery videos here.


Unilever’s brand manager was Refilowe Maluleke.

The Meet Wally’s Heart campaign was developed at Lowe Bull, Gauteng, by creative directors Rui Alves and Eion Welsh, art director Christopher Charoux, copywriters Lee Naidoo and Dominique Silva, agency producer Juliet Curtis, account handlers Claire du Plessis and Vanessa Vooslou.

Digital agency was Liquorice.

Meet Wally’s Heart was produced for SABC by Urban Brew, with Glasshouse editor Angela Whitehouse. Sound was designed at Frequency.