If the purpose of this ad is to inform everyone that women are more likely to die of heart disease and stroke than men, it succeeds brilliantly. If the purpose of this ad is to get people to visit the GoRedForWomen.org website, it doesn’t work as well.
The protagonist crashes through a series of ceilings transforming from a woman totally occupied with household duties into a captain of industry only to find herself dying of heart disease or stroke—one thing women are better at than men. The well-executed rug pull makes for an interesting spot, and the surprising information that women are more likely than men to die from heart disease and stroke is hard to forget.
Like many PSAs, this ad suffers from overconfidence in the power of its information to accomplish its goal. Surely the goal is to get people to act, to visit the website. But this ad gets across the information then rests, expecting the information to complete the job.
Imagine that the creators of the PSA didn’t have that startling information to work with, but they still wanted to get people to visit the website. They might talk about the desires people have that they will fulfill by visiting the website. They might communicate how a visit to the website will make them feel. They might tell viewers something about the people who already visit, hoping that group of visitors is one that viewers will want to join. Now add the information about women and heart disease. That eye-opening information can easily help do any of those things. But, by itself, the information leaves The American Heart Association short of its goal.