The national agency has picked Lawton, Trimedia Group, M&M Communications, Freshwater UK and Axon Communications to support its work in raising awareness of the ongoing need for donors and securing donor loyalty.
The National Blood Service, which is part of NHSBT, has recently come under fire for refusing to accept blood from gay men, regardless of their lifestyle.
Axon director Clare Lucker said that one element of the brief was to show how the agencies would handle crisis management: 'They wanted to hear our thoughts on how we would handle negative news in the media and things happening all at once.'
Acting director of comms Maxine Walter and national comms manager Rakesh Vasishtha oversee the roster, which spans three years. Previously Trimedia was the only incumbent agency.
Although no details are yet available on forthcoming campaign briefs, it is believed that the main focus for the five agencies will be to get people to sign the donor register and to decrease the waiting times for transplants. There may also be some corporate reputation work.
Nine out of ten people agree with the concept of organ donation, but barriers include religious objections, and many people do not like the thought of being 'cut open' after they have died.
NHS Blood and Transplant was established as a special health authority in 2005 from the previously separate UK Transplant and The National Blood Service.
Its remit is to provide a reliable, efficient supply of blood, organs and associated services to the NHS.