CASSIES Bronze: Giving new life with blood

Canadian Blood Services and Sandbox's pitch led to a surge in donations.

This article appears in the March/April 2017 issue of strategy.

Bronze| Cause
Agency | Sandbox Advertising

The charity space is a crowded one, and many campaigns are built around fun, shareable ways of giving, like pouring cold water on your head and recording it. It’s more complicated with blood. The Canadian Blood Services is mandated to encourage blood donations, but its ask is inherently more invasive.

The charity decided to focus on how blood is central to every aspect of life. Without blood, there are no soccer games, first dates or guitar lessons. Blood donation is a “first response” way of helping those in need.

Supported with a $500,000 budget, “You have the power to give life” was launched in September 2015. The symbol for the campaign was a red bandage on a lowered forearm – a literal call to arms and a recognizable badge of honour shared by donors. The campaign gave donors a way to share personal stories about their experience through social media. Donors now receive the red bandage after donating.

The campaign resulted in a 30% increase in new blood donors. This number continues to rise, from a monthly average of 5,262 prior to launch to 6,875 (and counting) post-launch. Engagement on Facebook increased by 66%. Campaign media spending year-over-year was flat and there was no change to the availability of blood donation locations. There was no other promotional activity.