Campaign title: Missing Type campaign

Company Name: BHS Blood and Transplant

Organisation objectives

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority. It provides a wide range of services to the National Health Service that save and improve lives. The authority encourages people to donate organs, blood, stem cells and tissues and ensures that a safe and adequate supply of blood and blood components is delivered to hospitals across England and North Wales

Communication objectives

A key objective of the NHSBT Missing Type campaign was to raise public awareness of the decline in donor numbers and to recruit 40,000 new donors in a month.

Target audiences

There was a particular focus on raising awareness and increasing the number of donors amongst young people and ethnic groups


NHSBT faces a challenge in recruiting new donors – there has been a 40% reduction in new donors coming forward in the last decade which has meant that those regularly donating tend to be older – half of current donors are over 45. This means that supply is struggling to meet demand. 200,000 new volunteers are needed each year to help meet patient needs. Ethnic groups are a particular challenge – Black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) make up 14% of the eligible donor population but only 5% have given blood in the last year.


The campaign stimulated mainstream and social media activity by removing the letters representing the blood types ‘A’, ‘O’ and ‘B’ from recognizable names places and brands. Examples included the Odeon Leicester Square, Waterstones in Trafalgar Square and the street sign on Downing Street. In addition, NHSBT issued a series of press releases conveying hard hitting facts about blood donation and promoted a number of patient stories. Quotes from spokespeople were used to help convey the message that the number of donors had declined. In additional there were a number of specific events aimed at raising awareness among ethnic groups.


  • Mainstream media volumes doubled compared to last year.
  • The use of spokespeople helped to drive message delivery. 97% of articles delivered a key message – a year on year increase of 16 percentage points. “New donors had decreased by 40%” was the most prevalent message, delivered in 78% of content.
  • The website address featured prominently and was the most frequently mentioned ‘call to action’
  • Message delivery was strong – 76% of coverage featured a key message with “thousands of people are dismissing the symptoms of mini-stroke” being the most prominent.
  • The national campaign reached 69% of 18-24 year olds and 73% of ethnic groups


  • There was significant engagement on social media with more than 19,000 posts, more than double the previous year. Coverage had a longer ‘burn time’ than previous years and was sustained over many weeks. A strong driver of social media engagement was the sharing of the #MissingType hashtag which featured in more than 12,000 tweets.
  • 11,000 people visited the campaign website with 17% clicking through to book an appointment to give blood.


  • Registrations during the campaign period reached 47,000 (more than double the number the previous year) while the total for the whole month was 57,000
  • Registrations for ethnic groups increased by 151% while registrations for young adults more than doubled

Impact and learnings

  • The overall number of donor registrations exceeded the monthly target of 40,000
  • There were strong correlations between media coverage and registrations which showed peaks of registrations around key media activity on the 5th and 8th of June, suggesting a strong causal link.. In addition there were significant correlations between coverage that reached key audiences of young people and ethnic groups and the resulting registrations of those specific audiences
  • A high proportion of visitors to the website came from Facebook with the majority using the mobile app. This feedback has been used to justify additional budget to optimise the website for mobile audiences.
  • Regional analysis showed that an experiment al tactic of comparing local registration numbers generated a strong interest in regional media channels.