British Heart Foundation puts MullenLowe on alert with ad review

Charity has worked with Interpublic agency since 2014.

BHF: 2020 ad featured boy attempting to provoke family into swearing to raise money
BHF: 2020 ad featured boy attempting to provoke family into swearing to raise money

The British Heart Foundation has kicked off a tender process for its lead creative agency.

It is working with AAR on the process and MullenLowe, the incumbent since 2014, will repitch. A result is expected in May.

The move follows the charity's decision to bring together its fundraising, marketing and communications teams in a new directorate under the leadership of Claire Sadler, appointed in January as executive director of marketing, fundraising and engagement.

The BHF said this meant its creative agency requirements had changed – and the successful shop will be given a wider brief than before.

“Bringing together our fundraising and brand marketing teams is an exciting change that will enable us to deliver more integrated and inspiring campaigns,” Sadler said.

“We need to appoint a creative agency on the basis of this new approach. Our partnership with MullenLowe has delivered some of our most memorable marketing to date and we’re pleased they have decided to be part of this review.”

MullenLowe’s work for the brand includes 2018’s “Shadows”, which launched the BHF’s new brand promise and showed the breadth of heart and circulatory conditions the charity’s research is working to beat, and a pair of ads in the past two years featuring enthusiastic young lad Billy.

The agency, then called DKLW Lowe, won the account after emerging victorious in a pitch against Inferno/DraftFCB, Engine and Publicis. It replaced previous incumbent Grey London, which had held the acocunt since 2008.

Sadler continued: “At its core, the BHF funds pioneering research that saves and improves lives. Our challenge is to leave the public in no doubt about the impact of our work at a time the power of science is more appreciated than ever and to drive action for our fundraising activities.”

Tom Knox, chairman at MullenLowe, added: “We are very proud of our long relationship with the British Heart Foundation and the work we’ve done together. Medical research has never been more top of mind and we will relish the opportunity of competing to continue to support this great charity.”