NHS Blood and Transplant
"Waiting to Live"

Client: NHS Blood and Transplant
Product: NHS Blood and Transplant
Title: Waiting to Live
Media: Wavemaker
Country: UK
Date Of Campaign: 21/11/2023

Background: Ralph Tatham, the three-year-old son of Katie, a VML colleague, was diagnosed with an ultra-rare but curable form of liver cancer in January 2023. With a multi-organ transplant his only chance of survival, the campaign set out to raise awareness of the children on the waiting list, changing attitudes towards paediatric organ donation and encouraging more families to join the donor register.

Idea: For the 233 children on the waiting list, life is put on hold. Instead of playing sport or going to school, each day they wait patiently for an organ transplant. Our strategy was to make this invisible wait public, telling the real-life stories of children currently on the waiting list. By showing the world the wait these children face in the most unavoidable and poignant way, we could help end it, and increase the likelihood of finding a lifesaving donation. The campaign, which launched in November 2023, centred around an emotive stunt in waiting rooms across the country. 233 bespoke dolls representing individual children appeared in hospitals and GP surgeries. Visitors were able to scan a QR code to learn more about the children's stories and register as organ donors. The installation was accompanied by OOH, TV, press, and influencer, generating over 1.5 billion impressions through earned media alone.

Results: The campaign was the largest in recent years for paediatric organ donation, leading to a sharp increase in registrations on the NHS Organ Donor Register, as well as substantial earned impressions through PR coverage. 1.5bn impressions through earned media £14.6m earned media value +5000 donor registrations 18% drop in under-18 opt outs These results show the campaign achieved its intended outcome, changing attitudes to organ donation and gaining more under-18 registrations. In addition, these results were achieved through an entirely pro-bono campaign, with all media donated or earned, requiring no NHS or taxpayer investment.