PR Case Study: Missing Type

The Missing Type NHS campaign by Engine has won multiple awards this year, including a Health & Wellness Lion at the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. The campaign for NHS Blood and Transplant during National Blood Week raised awareness around a need for blood donors through missing letters across major media and signage. 

NHS 1Campaign: Missing Type
Client: NHS Blood & Transplant
PR Team: Engine
Timing: 3 – 14 June 2015
Budget: £110,000

National Blood Week (NBW) is the key time in NHS Blood & Transplant’s calendar to draw attention to blood donation and recruit new donors. In 2015 there was an urgent need to safeguard the blood supply for the future as the number of new donors coming forward had plummeted by 40% in the past decade.

In 2014, NBW generated over 10,000 registrations – this was the benchmark of success to beat.

A bespoke team from Engine’s creative agency WCRS and PR agency MHP planned, activated and created media and digital content for the integrated campaign. They implemented a three-stage disruptive campaign that sparked conversation and initiated behaviour change – creating new donor registrations – rather than simply raising awareness.

Media relations was key to driving the campaign and shaping conversation across print, broadcast and online outlets, while social media was essential to engage with the primary target audience of young adults aged 17 to 24.

Engine launched Missing Type where the letters of the blood groups As, Os and Bs were taken from names, places and brands that people engage with in everyday life. The simplicity of the idea was reflected in the activation: minimal effort was required to create the desired disruption and message delivery.

NHS 3Teaser phase (3 – 4 June):
Engine approached partners – such as the Daily Mirror, Odeon, O2 and even the Cabinet Office to change the Downing Street sign – that could help seed the idea of Missing Type with a series of staged activities to create disruption and provide news and social content.

Reveal phase (5 – 7 June):
A media relations blitz – using NHS Blood and Transplant spokespeople and patient case-study families – ensured coverage appeared across every major national print, broadcast and online source accompanied by the 40% fall in new donors’ message.

Momentum phase – National Blood Week (8 – 14 June):
On the Monday the Daily Mirror ran a full print run of 600,000 papers with the letters A and O missing from its masthead. This was supported by editorial in the news and health pages on the need for donors and how people could participate in #MissingType.

NHS 2Results

  • The campaign reached two billion people through news coverage and social media activity
  • Over 30,000 new donors registered during National Blood Week (20,000 more than the previous year’s activity)
  • It is estimated that these donors will save or improve over 100,000 lives
  • Over 18,000 17-24 year olds registered during the campaign
  • Broadcast coverage of the social campaign included BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain, This Morning, Sky News, BBC Radio 1, Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2, The Today Programme and BBC Radio Five Live
  • Print and online coverage of MissingType included The Guardian, Mail Online, The Sun, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, The Times and Buzzfeed
  • The campaign garnered the support of over 60 influencers that have 10/10 authority on Twitter and over 1,000 brands and organisations
  • There were over 26,000 uses of #NationalBloodWeek and #MissingType across Twitter. This is the highest number of mentions for an NHS Blood & Transplant social media campaign to date
  • At this year’s AMEC Awards, for PR measurement and analysis, Gorkana won Platinum for the ‘Grand Prix for most effective media intelligence, research & insights company campaign’ for its work on the NHS Blood and Transplant Missing Type campaign.
  • Download the case study to see how Gorkana created this award-winning measurement campaign, and what we can do to help your organisation.
Related Posts
PR Case Study: Speed - BuzzBites
PR Case Study: Speed – BuzzBites
Speed devised a thought leadership campaign, BuzzBites, to enable Nestlé Professional to gain cut-through in a competitive industry. Campaign: BuzzBites Client: Nestlé [...]
PR Case Study: AmazeRealise - #AutoTraderGoals
PR Case Study: AmazeRealise – #AutoTraderGoals
AmazeRealise helped Auto Trader capitalise on the World Cup despite not being a sponsor through its #AutoTraderGoals campaign, which evolved as England progressed through the [...]
PR Case Study: Speed - Pitch Perfect for Pawchestra
PR Case Study: Speed – Pitch Perfect for Pawchestra
Speed used the idea of a classical music designed for dogs to help promote dog nutrition brand EUKANUBA’s new lifelong wellbeing messaging to its key target audience at [...]
Opinion: Communicators must help promote health data sharing
Opinion: Communicators must help promote health data sharing
Catherine Desmidt, associate director and head of the health practice at Hotwire, argues that communicators must help health practitioners explain how data sharing benefits [...]