NHS credits ‘simplicity’ of Missing Type as it takes the campaign global

NHS Blood and Transplant’s “most successful campaign ever” is back and this time it is going on TV and into international markets, aiming to reach one billion people across 21 countries.

The Royal Air Force has lost its As and Os in support of the NHS Blood and Transplant campaign Missing Type

The Royal Air Force has lost its As and Os in support of the NHS Blood and Transplant campaign Missing Type

NHS Blood and Transplant is taking its ‘Missing Type’ campaign global, as it looks to build on the success of what its assistant director of marketing Jon Latham claims is the organisation’s “most successful campaign ever”.

The new activity is rolling out globally today (16 August), with New Zealand and Australia the first to go live followed by countries in Asia including Singapore and Japan, the UK and Europe, and then the US, Canada and Brazil. In total 25 blood services in 21 countries will take part, covering one billion people.

Activity in each region is based around the same challenge – a decline in the number of people becoming donors and giving blood for the first time. Over the past 10 years, this has dropped by 27.6% among the services taking part in the campaign owing to factors including “apprehension” over giving blood, competition for consumers’ time and increased international travel.

In the UK, new blood donors were down by 24% last year compared to 2005. And despite the fact that last year’s Missing Type campaign saw 30,000 register as blood donors in the UK, this is not enough to offset the 200,000 plus donors who stop giving blood every year.

The NHS is aiming for between 20,000 and 25,000 new donors this year but is adopting a different strategy in order to repeat its success. This year’s campaign, created by Engine, includes a TV spot set to air tonight that aims to directly drive footfall to blood drives.

There is also an international film thanking donors filmed with patients from 23 countries. Despite the cost of advertising on TV, Latham says its last TV spot (for its ‘Bleed for England’ campaign) actually had the lowest cost per registration of any recent campaign.

“[Missing Type] hit a nerve with audiences last year but we can’t just run the same campaign again, the results would not be as good.”

Jon Latham, assistant director for donor services and marketing, NHS Blood and Transplant

“This time we want to amplify the message. TV can drive people to donor session if we book the right slots. The advantage is it amplifies what we are already doing and the success of last year. This is a direct response TV approach that aims to drive footfall,” he said.

Nevertheless, the creative idea remains the same. Landmarks from around the world, including Abbey Road in the UK, Route 66 in the US and lifeguards on Bondi Beach in Australia, will remove the letters A, O and B from their names.

nhs missing types bondi 2016

Brand partners – including Odeon, Paddy Power and Samsung – will also take the letters out of their names and promote the campaign among colleagues, while Microsoft is running a TV campaign this evening to support the campaign. The Royal Mail is also issuing a special postmark to support the campaign.

“We want people to imagine life without A, B and O. [Its success] is down to its simplicity. It is so easy to for anyone to take part and the message itself educates people about blood donation; it gets right to the core of what we are trying to achieve,” added Latham.

“If last year was about creating awareness, now it is about keeping blood donation on people’s agenda.”


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