Client: National Blood Service
Campaign: Work together to save a life
PR Team: Citigate Westminster
Timescale: Mar - Sept 2000
Budget: part of retainer
’Work together to save a life’ is the first national campaign the
National Blood Service (NBS) has undertaken since it merged its
geographically zoned divisions into a single national organisation at
the end of last year. The service decided that the workplace was a good
place from which to recruit regular donors.
To recruit as many new or lapsed donors as possible by targeting people
in their workplace. To encourage employers to promote sessions near or
in the workplace, and to allow staff time off to attend sessions.
Strategy and Plan
’Work together to save a life’ specifically targets employers and people
in the workplace. The key message was to communicate how and where
employees could give blood, as well as what the NBS uses its supply
Citigate brokered partnerships with the Trade Union Council and the
Confederation of British Industry on behalf of the NBS. Links were
established to reach their respective memberships - unions and managers.
The TUC was extremely active, including information on the campaign in
its regular bulletins, distributing TUC branded leaflets supplied by the
NBS, and dispensing specially produced TUC ’credit cards’, which promote
the NBS call centre number, and ask the card holder to ’invite your mate
for a pint’.
The CBI featured the NBS in the April issue of its magazine, circulated
to over 30,000 members, with a free full-page colour advertisement. Both
Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, and John Monks, TUC general
secretary, posed for a photocall and gave interviews for press and
An omnibus survey investigated which professions were most likely to
give blood. It revealed that farmers, fishermen and people in the
advertising and marketing industries were least likely to become donors.
Answers also revealed information that could aid the blood service’s
recruitment strategy - such as where and when people preferred to give
blood. The results of the survey were sold in to the national media.
Finally, Citigate released a list of the top 20 companies that gave
blood, and encouraged the listed companies to include this information
in their newsletters, trade press, and, in several instances,
participate in regional press calls.
The campaign’s exposure was increased by Pennington Scott Productions
which negotiated a free five day advertising campaign on Virgin Radio,
and included the launch of the campaign in its syndicated programme,
Measurement and Evaluation
Media coverage of the campaign was massive. National and regional press
and broadcast media all ran news stories on the campaign, as well as the
results of the survey. The fact that most people who work do not have
time to give blood was constantly communicated, therefore stressing the
need for employers to promote blood-giving sessions in work hours.
Various trade press also ran news of the campaign.
No formal evaluation of the campaign has been conducted yet, as it is
still ongoing. So far there has been no measured increase of donors in
response to the campaign. However, various companies have enquired as to
how they can introduce a donor scheme.
The National Blood Service is continuing to monitor response to evaluate
pick-up from the media. The call centre has received an increase of
’tens of thousands’ on its help-line as a result of the campaign.
Body Shop founder Anita Roddick recently put her name to a celebrity
letter to appear in the regional press (letters and business pages)
calling for support of the blood service, and media activity continues
on a regional basis.