National Blood Week 2023: ‘Giving Type’

The Challenge

How do you inspire Black audiences – which are diverse, disparate and historically distrustful of medical institutions and governments –to give blood?

This was our challenge when NHS Blood and Transplant tasked us with recruiting blood donors from Black communities to satisfy demand for rare blood types that can help treat sickle cell (a genetic blood disorder) in England. More and more Black people donate blood every year, but the NHS still needed significant numbers of new Black donors. How could we help them?

The Solution

We know from behavioural insights that people are more motivated to do something if they’re not the only one. Therefore, we decided to inspire our audience with some of the incredible people within Black communities who are giving blood and saving lives.

To do this, we shortlisted five individuals from different Black communities all across the country who give blood on a regular basis – “Giving Types” – and partnered with Ghanaian-British street artist, Dreph, to put them on a national stage.

Dreph painted a 20 ft mural in South London’s Stockwell Hall of Fame that featured likenesses of each ‘Giving Type’ blood donor, turning them into national heroes and creating news, buzz, conversation and over 10,000 new registrations to donate blood.

Our approach was simple and straightforward: we unveiled the mural to media during National Blood Week 2023, along with new NHS data detailing the critical need for blood from Black communities. Photo and video content was created and pushed out to national media, with a regional push that focused on locations linked to our case studies’ places of residence.

Influencers posted in support of the campaign when it went live, with all activity delivering a clear call to action: register to donate your blood now.

The Results

Over 175 pieces of news coverage including: News and case studies on Sky News, Good Morning Britain, ITV News and BBC News; Exclusive mural build capture featured in The Guardian’s ‘Best photos of the day’; Further national pick-up in Independent, Mail Online and Mirror Online; Dreph and case study, Torkwase Holmes, interviewed by Press Association – a feature which was syndicated in over 140 regional and online news outlets
More importantly, the campaign drove real change in the form of new blood donors. In National Blood Week alone: Over 10,000 new registrations to donate blood; New registrations by Black donors up 153% compared to average – which is 38% more than National Blood Week 2022