NHS Advertising

How the NHS tripled blood donor registrations


In the last decade, the number of new blood donors, who are critical in saving lives, has fallen by 40%. The NHS launched an award-winning social media campaign to get more donors, and won the Masters of Marketing Award in the process.

The primary target for new blood donors are 17-24 year olds. Young, first-time registrants safeguard the future blood supply since they’re statistically more likely to keep donating for the rest of their lives. Since social media is omnipresent in the lives of young people, Twitter was a key piece of the campaign.

The issue of falling blood donors is, largely, an invisible one, so NHS Blood and Transplant decided to make a bold statement by partnering with several well-known brands to remove the letters A, O and B from shop fronts and places. The campaign was kicked off with Westminster City Council removing the ‘O’ from the Downing Street sign, Waterstones in Trafalgar Square removing the ‘A’ and ‘O’ in their store sign, and Odeon’s flagship Leicester Square cinema removing the letter ‘O’. Twitter hashtags #MissingType and #giveblood were created and users were encouraged to remove the letters from their names.

NHS Campaign

Advertising Campaign

They secured editorial coverage in all major print publications and online news sites in the UK, as well as substantial TV and radio coverage on the BBC, ITV and Sky. The missing type visual concept was also utilised on popular sites with the target demographic, like Buzzfeed, which generated a large number of shares on social media. The Daily Mirror also removed the ‘A’ and ‘O’ letters from its logo to mark the first day of National Blood Week.

With the campaign gaining attention, more brands like Coca Cola and even the Church of England got involved. The camoaugn reached 2 billion people, and 30,000 new blood donors registered in National Blood Week alone, with more than half – 18,000 – coming from the 17-24 target demographic. The two hashtags were included on 27,000 tweets, and the entire campaign led to a 353% year over year increae in traffic to blood.co.uk



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