On April 12, 2018, The Harris Poll’s CEO, John Gerzema, was awarded The Visionary Leader Award by the National Kidney Foundation at its 12th annual Springtime in New York Gala. The Visionary Leader Award recognizes individuals or groups who exemplify “vision,” extraordinary leadership, and a commitment to making the world a better place for people living with kidney disease. In 2017, Gerzema recruited Berlin Cameron to create Heart Your Kidneys, NKF’s multimedia marketing campaign designed to elevate the kidneys to the status of other vital organs in the body such as the heart. The campaign includes kidney disease in current cultural conversations and connects NKF to action-oriented activism.
“We’ve launched Heart Your Kidneys with a brand refresh. More ideas are coming, but the whole idea is to get the disease out of the medical journals and out into conversations on the streets,” said Gerzema. “I’m proud to share this award with such an amazing agency.”
For the campaign, NKF partnered with ten-year-old America’s Got Talent runner-up and kidney transplant recipient, Angelica Hale, to further raise awareness about kidney health among children and teens. Other facets of the campaign include short PSA videos featuring Hale, as well as print ads and social media posts. This year, the campaign also introduced the orange kidney pin for news anchors to wear on World Kidney Day on March 14.
“One in three American adults is at risk for developing kidney disease and most don’t even know it because public awareness about kidney disease is low relative to other health problems,” said Gerzema, who was named to the NKF’s Board of Directors in July 2014. “From a marketer’s perspective, this reflects a brand challenge and I am committed to working with the National Kidney Foundation to continue to increase awareness and inspire proactive behaviors to combat this growing public health epidemic.”
During the past year, the Heart Your Kidneys campaign has reached an audience of 160 million people. In the future, the campaign will continue to help people learn about the kidney’s vital functions and how simple lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk for kidney disease.