Bayer has combined art, augmented reality and social media in its latest heart health education campaign.

The campaign, which kicked off with an art installation in New York on Wednesday, brought on artist Alexa Meade to paint heart attack survivors into her large-scale, optical illusion murals that mix real people with two-dimensional art. 

She paints subjects and places them in large painted backgrounds to make them appear as if they’re in a two-dimensional painting. For Bayer’s Hidden Risk campaign, Meade painted three heart attack survivors.

“We liked the double entendre of hidden people, both because people didn’t realize they had risk factors for heart attack and because of people’s emotional state after heart attack. They can feel invisible and that others are talking about them, not to them, about this major health scare,” said Jennifer Kaczmarek, director of global external communications for consumer Health at Bayer. “[Meade’s] process, how she paints someone into her painting, is an analogy in this situation. This person is hiding in plain sight, and so are your risk factors for heart attack.” 

After the New York event, Bayer created an augmented reality experience for patients to place themselves in one of Meade’s paintings. The AR effect can be used on both Instagram and Facebook.

Bayer teamed up with two heart health nonprofits, Mended Hearts and WomenHeart, for this campaign. The groups provided patient advocates to appear in the paintings and Bayer will donate money to both groups for every AR selfie shared with the #YourHiddenRisk hashtag.

bayer heart health education campaign painting
Source: Bayer

The Hidden Risk campaign is working to both educate people about the risks of heart attack and about Bayer aspirin. Many patients don’t realize that factors like family history or high cholesterol increases the risk for a heart attack, Kaczmarek said.

“We are the leader in the aspirin category and this was more about giving back,” Kaczmarek  said. “To some extent, we feel it’s our duty to educate people about risk factors for heart attack. We want to be the ones to give people health information in a user-friendly way. We’re also educating them about using our product compliantly because there has been a lot of discussion about who should be using aspirin and who shouldn’t be.”

The campaign will be promoted mainly on digital and social channels to encourage people to share their AR selfies. The Hidden Risk website encourages people to talk to their doctors about heart attack risk and tells the story of other heart attack survivors.

“It’s one of those categories where there’s a big education gap and we were the brand to take it on,” Kaczmarek said. “ Every 40 seconds someone has a heart attack. We had the means to shine a spotlight on risk factors and get people to take notice. But to make people take notice, you have to do something a little different.”