Hemofarm Foundation has launched a national campaign ‘Don’t let it Burst’ to raise health culture and encourage people to check their blood pressure regularly. Every other person in Serbia suffers from high blood pressure. Health statistics warn that untreated high blood pressure results in 69 per cent of heart infarction and 84 per cent of strokes. Bearing in mind these devastating statistics, Hemofarm Foundation, with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Public Health Institute ‘Dr. Milan Jovanovic Batut’, has also taken the initiative to establish a National High Blood Pressure Day in Serbia.

The campaign ‘Don’t Let It Burst’ started on 14 April when two red balls were installed in downtown Belgrade, at the Bezistan entrance from Terazije and at the plateau in front of the Faculty of Philosophy. The red balls, stuck between posts, had the messages ‘Do You Feel the Pressure?’ and ‘Do You Think It Will Hold On?. The same messages could be seen on 165 billboards and citylights in Belgrade and 10 towns in Serbia. The red ball is an art installation made after the project ‘Red Ball’ by the American artist Kurt Perschke who agreed that it should represent all of us suffering from high blood pressure, stuck in the moment and unaware of the danger of this disease and its consequences.

High blood pressure is the most common disease nowadays. Over 2 billion adults in the world face this serious health issue. High blood pressure is called ‘silent killer’ because it is an insidious disease mainly without any warning signs, and the effects are disastrous for health. According to the official information of the Public Health Institute of Serbia ‘Dr. Milan Jovanović Batut’, 6,639 people in Serbia died in 2016 as a direct consequence of high blood pressure. 6,639 red balloons were released into the sky at the beginning of 5K run at the 31st Belgrade Marathon, a symbol of healthy life of Serbian citizens, in memory of 6,639 people who lost their lives in the previous year due to unregulated blood pressure. A TV commercial ‘Don’t let it Burst’ was broadcast, involving participants in the campaign, celebrities supporting the campaign and suffering themselves from hypertension, Ivana Peters, musician, Ivan Tokin, writer and Branko Rosić, journalist and deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine ‘Nedeljnik’. The web page has also been launched, where information on the campaign, high blood pressure and advices for a healthy life can be found.

The campaign ‘Don’t Let it Burst’ was supported also by the Red Star and Čukarički footballers who started a match with a red ball, a warning symbol. The players got out in the field wearing T-shirts with the title of the campaign ‘Don’t Let it Burst’, sent 10 red balls into the audience and thus pointed out the importance of prevention and the importance of regular high blood pressure checkups. At the same time, representatives of Hemofarm Foundation, together with doctors from the Sveti Sava Special Hospital, Clinical Centre of Serbia, Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases Dedinje and celebrities, pointed out the importance of preventive checkups and messages of the campaign on national TV channels and in print media.

The campaign ‘Don’t Let It Burst’ also involved some concrete steps in prevention of hypertension when citizens of Serbia were given an opportunity to measure blood pressure for free and get advices from doctors in more than 90 healthcare institutions all over the country and as a part of preventive checkups organized by the Ministry of Health of Serbia. Free measuring of blood pressure was also organized at central locations in 11 cities and towns in Serbia – Belgrade, Vršac, Šabac, Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, Zaječar, Kraljevo, Kragujevac, Niš, Leskovac and Požarevac. Over two weekends, 1709 people measured blood pressure, 860 men and 849 women. 381 people whose pressure exceeded the allowed value were told to take further tests.

Hemofarm Foundation donated 300 blood pressure measuring devices to 81 healthcare institutions in Serbia, as one of the activities of the campaign ‘Don’t Let it Burst’. This significant donation also involved donation of blood pressure measuring devices to the Clinical and Hospital Centre Zvezdara in Belgrade. The CEO of Hemofarm, Ronald Seeliger, the Minister of Health, Zlatibor Lončar, acting director of the Public Health Institute of Serbia ‘Dr. Milan Jovanović – Batut’, Verica Jovanović and acting director of Clinical and Hospital Centre Zvezdara, Petar Svorcan used the opportunity to warn of the harm that high blood pressure has on human health and appealed to the public to be regularly monitored, to listen to the advice of the doctor and take the therapy.

The campaign Don’t Let it Burst has been awarded with five recognitions by the Association of Serbian Market Communications (UEPS). The campaign has won two golden awards in the categories of promotional integrated campaign - health and BTL activities in non-standard locations, and three silver awards in the categories of OOH (Out-of-home advertising), creative use of the media, and a socially responsible and humanitarian project in the non-profit sector. The campaign Don’t Let it Burst has also won two awards in the category Non-profit Integrated Campaign and Media at the Festival of Integrated Communications - KAKTUS 2018. It has also won the Silver Drum Award in the OOH category at the 25th International Golden Drum Festival, the most significant festival of creativity and advertising in Central and Eastern Europe.