Coca-Cola North America and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) have teamed up in a campaign to highlight the dangers of heart disease to US women.

The soft drinks company said yesterday (8 January), that it will support NHLBI's The Heart Truth campaign with its Diet Coke Red Dress campaign during next month's American Heart Month.

The company said that support will include the sponsorship of The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection fashion show at Fashion Week 2008 as well as new packaging for Diet Coke, featuring logos and messages on heart health in an effort to raise awareness about women's risk of heart disease.

The message will be backed by a national television, print and online advertising campaign and the company will make a contribution to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD as part of the agreement.

Coca-Cola North America chief marketing officer Katie Bayne said: "Through this partnership, Diet Coke can help raise awareness about heart disease, the number one killer of women, while showing women how to incorporate heart health into their lives."

The campaign, which will kick off on 1 February, coinciding with National Wear Red Day, when Diet Coke presents the annual Red Dress Collection Fashion Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2008.

From mid-February until April, the company will further push 'The Heart Truth' message to consumers by taking a roadshow on tour to ten US cities. The marketing plans will involve a travelling exhibit, six celebrity-worn red dresses and free heart health screenings.

The Heart Truth Road Show will visit shopping malls in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Palm Beach, Cincinnati, Birmingham and Charleston.

NHLBI. director Elizabeth Nabel added: "We hope that this collaborative effort will help us continue to reach millions of American women with our critical message of heart health. A variety of activities, including screenings and provision of educational materials to communities across the country are planned.

"We look forward to working together to carry out our commitments to continue to raise awareness about The Heart Truth."