Missing Type: A global PR phenomenon to drive blood donation
Giving blood saves lives. But in the last decade the amount of new blood donors coming forward has plummeted by 40%. Our challenge was to increase the number of blood donors, particularly from different blood types, to help meet the needs of hospitals and patients.
Giving blood saves lives. It’s a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments. But in the last decade the amount of new blood donors coming forward has plummeted by 40%. Our challenge was to increase the number of blood donors, particularly from different blood types, to help meet the needs of hospitals and patients.
People rarely think about their blood type. But what would happen if that ‘type’ were to go missing? We put the idea to the test.
We launched ‘Missing Type’ where the letters of blood groups A, O and B were removed from the names, places and brands that we engage with in everyday life. We staged a series of activities to create disruption and provide news and social content. We approached partners to drop the ‘missing type’ letters from their brands, resulting in the Daily Mirror, Campaign magazine, Odeon, O2 and even the street sign at Downing Street changing their names.
We created an inclusive movement where anyone could drop the type from their social media profiles and content. Hard-hitting blanket news coverage and social media content were critical to the campaign’s success as all partnerships with participating brands were earned via goodwill and shared commitment to the cause rather than paid support.
NHS Blood and Transplant united with 25 blood donor organisations across 21 countries around the world covering one billion of the world’s population.
Many of the world’s biggest brands, including Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, McDonald’s and Santander, subverted their brand logos in the name of ‘Missing Type’ and featured in a new TV advert depicting an eerie, unsettling world where the vital letters of the blood groups mysteriously disappear from familiar signs and logos.
The campaign was an astounding success. 30,000 new blood donors signed up over the course of one week in year 1 – including 18,000 donors amongst the primary audience of 17-24 year olds. It is estimated that these donors will save or improve over 100,000 lives.
There was a 460% increase in new donor appointments made. 2 billion people reached through 600 pieces of global news coverage and social media activity #MissingType trended in over ten countries on Twitter throughout the week in year 2.
The campaign was the UK’s most awarded of the year receiving industry-wide acclaim with over 44 awards, including a Gold Health & Wellness Lions at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
“Quite simply this was one of the best campaigns NHS Blood & Transplant has ever done… Missing Type has become a shining example among our peers around the globe on how to do a successful donor campaign.”
Jon Latham, Assistant Director for Donor Services & Marketing, NHS.