The healthiest of collabos
The healthiest of collabos
Wake Med & Duke Health
Heart Care Plus+
Client: Wake Med + Duke Health
Agency: The Variable


Every now and then there comes a time when two competing factions need to come together for the common good. We seem to recall Rocky and Apollo capturing the "Eye of the Tiger" with a well placed training montage. Similarly, the two titans of health care in North Carolina, Duke Health and Wake Med, are uniting to share their knowledge and research under a common desire to fight heart disease.
It's an approach that mixes the techniques of Wake Med with the knowledge of Duke Health. Working with the fantastic team at Variable, we created a mixed media training montage (okay maybe not a training montage, but work with us here) that used live action, illustration, and paper craft to tell the collaborative story of the Heart Care Plus+ initiative.
We heart North Carolina
We also love telling great stories of two companies working together instead of working for themselves. Really, an initiative like this isn't typical business. Especially when the people it benefits are the general public.

A Tale of Two Opinions

It was important for us to establish this campaign as one of collaboration from both companies - as if we had 2 different clients to balance at one time...which really was the case. And although we kept a conscious eye on making sure one wasn't prominently featured over the other in design, Wake Med and Duke Health were nothing but supportive in everything we put fourth...even coming up with a few ideas to further boost the collaborative moments in the spots.
That collaboration is the big idea behind the campaign. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The visuals all reinforced that idea with metaphoric pairings that are better together, or two approaches to the same goal. Needle and thread make a damned fine sweater. Or Peanut Butter and Jelly makes a damned fine sandwich. Turns out Wake Med and Duke Health make a damned fine team to combat heart disease.
Half the spot was driven by stylish illustrations of both the metaphorical imagery as well as the actual collaboration of doctors. It was important for both Wake Med and Duke Health to depict actual people collaborating and making a difference. But we knew we wanted to do that in a stylish way where we could control animation and movement.
We took the illustration style we defined for the spot and recreated key frames in paper craft. It gives the spot a more human presence while maintaining the look. Coupled with a live action shoot of hands manipulating the paper craft, we doubled down on bringing the illustrated artwork into the real world.
Every piece of paper craft was painstakingly created by hand (with super small little kid fingers). Some elements were tiny, and others - like this heart - were built to be taken apart in stop motion. We built a mound of paper crafted feathers, and doubled the amount when we were on set seeing how it looked through the camera.
We built books, hikers, medals, needle and thread, an assortment of plus signs, and an entire city scape complete with Wake Med and Duke Health doctors collaborating in front of them. It was truly a sight to behold. And we would know; our office is now home to a brightly colored parade of paper craft.

Combining Techniques

Look, health care is tough to navigate through. Most people’s eyes cross looking at the legal disclaimers on pharma ads. This is not a typical initiative. Heart Care Plus+ is a program created by two titans of North Carolina’s health care system for the common good. It’s a preventative program, aimed at ensuring heart health. We can get behind that. We love our hearts.
We can also get behind this idea of mixing techniques. As artists, we’re all fans of getting our hands dirty, closing the laptop, and actually making something. It’s rewarding to stand back and say “yeah, we made a thing.” And for two health care companies, this look is stylistically pushing the boundaries of what they have done before. We love that the team at The Variable allowed us to go as far as we did, and look forward to seeing where this initial step takes the campaign from here.
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