“Hearts in the Heights”
American Heart Association (Founders Affiliate) with REVOLUCION
2009 HPRA Campaign of the Year/Non Profit

“She was found and pronounced at the scene. She was already lying in bed.
The paramedics said that her heart gave out. I mean, that’s basically
what they said…
¡Alabanza! Alabanza a Doña Claudia, Señor.”

These lines from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “In the
Heights” reflect an all-too-real scene for many U.S.-Hispanic
families. In this bilingual production, a community’s maternal figure
suffers from and eventually dies from heart disease. But it’s not just
a work of fiction—cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of Hispanic
women in the U.S. One major barrier to reversing this trend is the
lack of knowledge about it—less than 50% of Hispanic women are aware
of these statistics and the life-saving choices they could be making.
For American Heart Month 2009, the American Heart Association’s
Founders Affiliate set out to educate Hispanic women in New York City
about their risks and the life-saving preventive measures to combat
heart disease.

With the goal of designing a compelling media event
that would also directly reach Hispanic women, REVOLUCION created
Hearts in the Heights, an awareness program with the Tony Award- and Grammy Award-winning Broadway musical “In the Heights.”

Cardiovascular disease is the number-one killer of Latinas in the
U.S., but, in spite of these figures, only one-third of Hispanic women
consider themselves well-informed about heart disease, compared to
more than 40% of white women. In particular, Mexican-American women,
who represent one-third of all U.S. Hispanics, are at greater risk of
cardiovascular disease than their non-Hispanic white counterparts due
to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and physical
inactivity. Changes in health and lifestyle patterns are made from an
emotional response, and the power of Broadway to move people is
strong. Moreover, Broadway audiences are 66% female and “In the
Heights” was drawing Latino audiences as no other show had before.

The goals of Hearts in the Heights were to increase awareness of
cardiovascular disease and its effects on Hispanic women and to
promote the American Heart Association and Go Red Corazón, the AHA’s
“solution to save Latinas’ lives”, as a trusted in-language resource.
A secondary objective was to generate Spanish-language media coverage
of Hearts in the Heights and the AHA. REVOLUCION wanted to generate a
minimum of 15 million media impressions for the campaign and to secure
an influential, local media sponsor. The target was Spanish-preferring
women living in the New York metro area and local Spanish-language
media.

Media & Health Insights: A Pew Hispanic Center study found that U.S.
Hispanics trust health information received from the media. Sixty-four
percent (64%) of Latinos said that media information about health
changed the way they thought about diet or exercise; 57% said that it
led them to ask a doctor or other medical professional new questions;
and 41% said the media affected a decision about how to treat an
illness or medical condition. Understanding the media’s powerful
influence over Hispanics and their health choices, we knew that a
compelling media platform would enable AHA’s message to reach their
target.

Property Insights: The bilingual Broadway musical “In the Heights” is
set in the New York City neighborhood of Washington Heights, a
close-knit community of Latin American immigrants. Even more salient
than the setting, however, was the plotline of the character “Abuela
Claudia” (played by the Cuban-born actress and Tony Award nominee Olga
Merediz), whose struggle with heart disease affects her entire
community.

“In the Heights” was gaining nationwide praise for its fresh look at
Latino life in the U.S. and was nominated for 13 Tony Awards. It made
Broadway history in June 2008 as the first production about Latinos by
Latinos to win the Best Musical Tony Award. The bilingual soundtrack
of salsa, hip-hop, merengue, boleros and more debuted as No. 1 on the
Billboard cast album chart and went on to win a Grammy Award for Best
Musical Show Album (beating out mainstream classics including “Gypsy”
and “The Little Mermaid”).

Media research on the production found that both general market and
Spanish-language outlets were incredibly enthusiastic about the
bilingual production. Time magazine hailed it as “the first musical of
the Barack Obama era”, while Good Morning America hosted live cast
performances for viewers nationwide. Raúl Reyes, arts reporter for La
Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper declared,
“The play deals with home, family, and people like me. Thanks to ʻIn
the Heightsʼ, Latinos finally have a reason to shout, ʻViva
Broadway!’”

Broadway audiences are 66% female, and while Broadway ticket sales had
historically skewed towards white consumers, “In the Heights” was
attracting a record number of Latino audiences. The time was ripe to
partner with this super hot property.

REVOLUCION brokered an agreement with Broadway producers to create
“Hearts in the Heights”, which allowed AHA promotion in-venue and on
stage for a full week of performances (8 shows) during American Heart
Month. REVOLUCION further secured Spanish Broadcasting System station
Amor 93.1, the nation’s #1 Spanish-language radio station in the
pop/romantic format, as the campaign’s official media partner.

A bilingual news release was disseminated to nearly 3,000 outlets
nationwide and REVOLUCION oversaw various media interviews for the
cast. After each Hearts in the Heights performance, the cast—led by
Olga Merediz (“Abuela Claudia”)—remained on stage to deliver a
bilingual message about heart health. This messaging tactic directly
reached nearly 10,000 audience members over the course of the program.
“In the Heights” stars also appeared at AHA Heart Month events and
were interviewed by Spanish-language media about the cause. The show’s
producers donated a pair of orchestra seats to the silent auction for
AHA’s national Go Red For Women Luncheon (which took place
simultaneous to the campaign), where Ms. Merediz attended as a VIP and
representative of the campaign.

A special Hearts in the Heights logo was created, incorporating
elements from the Broadway production logo. Direct consumer outreach
included a bilingual checklist of heart attack warning signs
distributed to theater audiences; branded lobby signage; an AHA video
loop at the ticket window; and AHA branded premium giveaways in the
lobby.

Nearly 10,000 audience members directly received the American Heart
Association’s message at the Broadway theater. Key media placements
included “El consultorio de la Dra. Aliza” on Univision Radio; two
eight-minute morning-show interviews on 93.1’s Amor Temprano en la
Mañana; write-ups in El Diario/La Prensa and HispanicBusiness.com.
The campaign garnered a total of 24 million media impressions.